A cybercriminal group embezzled huge amount of money during last two months acting as rider of ride-sharing company Shohoz. Dodging the authorities, supplying fake information through internet, they snatched away the bonus money offered to users of the company, said concerned sources. Using apps downloaded from play store and installing the app in a rooted mobile set, members of the group used to provide fake GPS data to authorities of ride-sharing company Shohoz, from cloned ‘user’ and ‘rider’ IDs registered with the company, only to take away the bonus money frequently provided to the user by the ride-sharing platform, said police sources. “In this away, they misappropriated lakhs of taka from the company, or in other words, from the users.”
Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police recently unearthed the activities of the unprecedented gang of cyber criminals. DB’s senior assistant commissioner Rahul Patowary revealed the information to Bangladesh Post on Friday. “Every day, a member of the gang used to make 20 to 30 ‘trips’ on average staying at home, taking away around Tk 5,000 through mobile banking,” said the detective.
He said the vested group succeeded to carry out their misdeeds for more than two months, because the Shohoz authorities registered scores of users and raiders without minimum verification of papers. This encouraged the cheats to conduct the crime. Calling upon the ride-sharing companies to be more cautious before registering its users and riders, Patwary said, “We are conducting drives to nab the members of the gang; already leader of the gang, one Azam Sarker, has been identified but not yet detained.”
Meanwhile, this correspondent Post succeeded in tracing out a member of the gang that cheated Shohoz. On condition of anonymity, the youth agreed to talk to Bangladesh Post, sharing his experience. “I earned around Tk 7 lakh in one and half months from Shohoz. T tried to do the same job opening fake IDs with other riding sharing companies, but in vain,” he said, adding there are huge security laps in Shohoz’s app. Abusing the security laps, I created numerous fake accounts with it.
Informing that he was registered rider of several ride-sharing companies, he said, “But I could not earn any handsome amount despite working hard from morning till midnight. The ride-sharing companies took away 20 percent unfairly from every ride. It made me angry upon them.” “At one stage, I planned to respond to their unfair practice, taking away extra money from the company without conducting the ride.”
“I watched many video clips from YouTube to learn how to project fake GPS location. First, I had to make my mobile set unrecognisable. For this, I went to a mobile repairing shop at Motaleb Plaza in the capital, and requested to root my phone set. The shop owner, at first, denied to do it, saying it is illegal. I then resorted to a trick, telling him that I need to root my set for playing Pokemon Go game. After some cajoling, he agreed. He rooted my phone set taking Tk 1,000.”
The youth then bought an app from Google play store which can project fake GPS location, and installed it in his gadget. “I also purchased a number of registered SIM cards from street side vendors. Then I started my main mission. I opened dozens of fake accounts with ride-sharing company Shohoz. I had two types of accounts — rider and user accounts. Using fake GPS, I showed my phone location at a suitable area in the city. Then I made a ride request. At the same time, showing my rider ID’s GPS location at the same place, I accept the request, rejecting other riders’ responses if any.”
“I then projected fake GPS data, showing the Shohoz authorities that the user has been picked up and dropped at mentioned location. That meant a successful ride has been carried out. The company then deposit the bonus money due to the user to my mobile banking account.” Responding to a question, he said that he could carry out the seven to eight fake rides in this way at a time, using different illegal SIM cards.
Police sources said at least 500 SIMs have been used by members of the gang. Officials of Shohoz while contacted seemed totally unaware of the cheating. Though some riders claimed to Bangladesh Post that the company has many riders who have no valid licenses, the company authorities categorically rejected any such allegation. Responding to a question, AC Rahul said,” The group is highly skilled in ICT.” We hope to arrest the group very soon as we have already detected some members of the gang, he added.