A man has been arrested for allegedly selling One Time Passwords (OTPs), which police said were used to create e-wallets that played a key role in online frauds. The police say the OTPs were sold for Rs 20 each through a Telegram group.
Partha Saha, the accused, was arrested earlier this week from Halisahar in the North 24-Parganas district. During the pandemic, he lost his job as a sales manager at a telecom company.
Over 750 pre-activated SIM cards allegedly belonged to him, which he allegedly used to generate OTPs that were sold to online fraudsters.
Swati Bhangalia, deputy commissioner (south-west) of the Kolkata police, said six other people had been arrested for involvement in the racket.
Allegedly, the accused created fake identity cards activated SIM cards with those cards and used the SIM cards to sell OTPs for e-wallets.
“To create an e-wallet, you just need a phone number and the OTP generated on that number. Saha used pre-activated SIM cards obtained illegally to generate OTPs by inserting them into a mobile phone one after the other. A Telegram group would be used to sell the OTPs,” said an investigator.
Fraudsters use e-wallets to transfer money from their victims’ bank accounts.
The officer said Saha was selling OTPs for Rs 20 each. “Once the work was done online, he sold the SIM cards in-person for Rs 100 each.”
An elderly man reported a scam of Rs 20.54 lakh to the Parnasree police station in southwest Kolkata’s Behala area in January, according to the police.
Fraudsters who had remote access to the complainant’s phone deactivated his number and linked a new one to his account, according to investigators. Due to this, whenever they made a fraudulent transaction, the complainant would not receive any alert and the OTP would be generated in the new number.
An officer said the fraudsters needed Saha to get the OTPs to execute the scheme. “Saha was complicit in the crime, though we are not sure whether he received any part of the stolen amount.”