The accused are involved in more than 126 cases of cyber fraud across 16 states and cheated people of around Rs 1.1 crore.
The Delhi Police’s cyber cell has arrested four persons who allegedly cheated hundreds of business owners in the name of providing them with dealerships or franchises of food companies such as Haldiram and Amul.
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The websites created by the accused would ‘pop-up’ on Google searches and looked genuine as they replicated the company’s logo and details.
Police said they received a complaint from a woman this month about the fraud. The woman stated that she found the website and thought of opening a Haldiram store near her house in Delhi. She called on the mobile number given on the website, filled the registration forms and was asked to pay a registration fee to open the store.
Anyesh Roy, DCP (Cyber Cell), said, “In the last two months, she ended up paying Rs 11.74 lakh. She thought officials from Haldiram were guiding her but she later came to know when the men asked for more money but did nothing about the dealership.”
A case was registered and police found that the accused are running several fake websites offering franchises. Many users across the country were applying for businesses on these websites.
“They were using more than 36 mobile phones and multiple bank accounts. Our team traced their location with these details and conducted several raids in Bihar, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi,” DCP Roy added.
On August 28, police arrested the main accused Vikas Mistry from Nalanda in Bihar. His associates, including the designer of the websites, were arrested from Faridabad and Delhi.
While Mistry would call their targets and pose as officials from food companies, his associates Vinod Kumar and Santosh Kumar would help him with bank accounts and SIM cards to divert the money.
Another accused, Vinay Singh (37), works as a CEO of a digital marketing company in Gurgaon. He was allegedly designing the websites and promoted them with the help of Google Ads.
“They copied content from the original food companies’ websites and bought similar domain names online. Their website had keywords such as dealership and franchise which would pop up during a Google search,” the police said.
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