The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Unit (CTTC) have arrested two alleged members of a fraud gang named International Financial Scammers from Sirajganj district.
The arrestees are Md Ziaul Haque,34, and Md Sajid Hasan Setu,28.
Based on secret information, a team from the Cyber Crime Investigation Division under the CTTC carried out a drive at around 5:30 am on Tuesday and arrested the duo, AFM Al Kibria, deputy commissioner of the division, told The Business Standard.
AFM Al Kibria said the racket had already embezzled $15,000 or around Tk13 lakh from the bank accounts of hundreds of people.
"The two were accused of embezzling large amounts of foreign currency through fraudulent transactions at a foreign investment consulting firm."
Victims of financial fraud used to provide personal information as well as bank account information as part of the account opening process at the investment consulting firm.
As part of the account verification, the company temporarily pays $1 against each newly registered account. The amount is deposited in the bank account attached to the account opened with the consulting firm. Once the verification process is completed, the money is returned to the account of the organisation within 2-3 days.
During preliminary interrogation, it was revealed that the detainees had taken advantage of the financial institution's account authentication process. They used to buy a social security number with fake name and address and anonymous account with a foreign bank using Perfect money, WebMoney, payoneer account etc from various domestic and foreign fraudsters through various social media.
Using this information purchased online, they used to create 300/400 fake accounts of that investment consulting firm against each bank account. Thus, if the money for 300/400 account verification was deposited together in a specific bank account and the fraudsters then used to transfer the money to another bank account before the money was returned to the institution concerned.
To accomplish this process they mainly used to use international mobile banking platforms like GO2Bank, Chime Bank etc.
This fraud group has so far initially admitted that it has embezzled thousands of dollars by creating numerous fake accounts.
This new type of fraud is known as "New Account Fraud".
A case has been filed against the arrestees with Ramna police station under the Digital Security Act.
AFM Al Kibria told TBS that they would send a letter to the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit through the court seeking information about the bank transactions of the gang members. "Once the BFIU data are available, the actual transaction and the amount of money embezzled will be known."
AFM Al Kibria further said that freelancers who are earning money from abroad with their skills are at high risk of such fraud. "Young people working in the freelancing sector can easily become prone to crime or fall into these traps. I urge them to be more vigilant in this regard."
How they operate
The Deputy Commissioner also told TBS that the scammers target International Investment Advisory Company for New Account Fraudulence.
Firstly, they collect fake names and addresses from fakeaddressgenaerator.com, Facebook and WhatsApp groupa. At the same time, the scammers also buy readymade foreign bank accounts possessing fake names and addresses from the Facebook and WhatsApp group.
Then they create 400-500 bank accounts from a single bank account of the International Investment Advisory Company.
At the initial stage, the bank accounts do not have any deposit but the authorities send 80 cents per account while verifying the accounts and around $300 for 400-500 bank accounts.
When the amount is transacted to the accounts, the scammers cunningly transfer those amounts to Go2Bank mobile application and then transfer to any Bangladeshi mobile banking financial system.