Asansol: Jamtara hacked, cybercriminals log in from Asansol | News from India

If you receive a text message warning you that the electricity supply to your home will be cut within hours, or a job offer that sounds too good to be true, chances are it originated in Asansolindustrial city of Bengal, not far from the state border with Jharkhand.
With the police in dive Jamtar, a poor district of Jharkhand that has become notorious for cybercrime across India, the gangs based there have moved into pockets of Asansol, less than 40km away. And while they used to trick people into telling them their debit card was blocked or their bank account disabled, now they have new tricks.
“They prey on people’s fears, greed and insecurities,” said Mohammad Ghazi (name changed), a former Asansol cybercriminal Neamatpur. He claimed he reformed after some of his acquaintances were arrested. “People get scared and fall into the trap when we text about power disconnection in this scorching heat. Many swallow the bait of home business offers that promise to pay handsomely. They click on the link, which allows us to access their details through an app.
City a safe haven
But the police fire on Jamtara is not the only reason to move the base to Asansol. Many cybercriminals have relatives in Asansol, so it’s easy to find refuge and resume “business” here.
“The situation is such that every cell phone tower in Jamtara is monitored by cybercrime officers, and as soon as a call is made, cops rush in. It is becoming very risky to do our business from Jamtara,” Ramu said Paswan, who now lives in a slum on Lithuria Road. A few months ago he told TOI that he was making calls from Asansol with the help of local youth.
Many unemployed youths in Asansol have also been trained by gangs in Jamtara to start their own “adventures”. “The capital required is not much. We have smartphones and buy some phone numbers (SIM cards) from suppliers. There are several cell phone towers, so connectivity is not a problem,” said another “reformed” phisher in Neamatpur.
Office space is also readily available in Asansol’s pockets. “There are abandoned yards and warehouses all over the city. We use them as our office space without paying any rent. It also provides security,” said Kamal Das, a resident of Ushagram.
Easy money on display
Asansol’s industrial decline had left it with an unemployment problem, but some of its neighborhoods have transformed in the last 2-3 years. There is a cell tower every few hundred meters and the markets are booming. Youngsters riding expensive bikes are a regular sight here. Though no one says it on record, people attribute the transformation to the sudden influx of cash.
“No major industry has been born in the last 10 years. Furthermore, there was no mass government recruitment. So how do people get so much money so fast? said the owner of a new furniture store in Neamatpur.
The police raise their fire
Meanwhile, the police cracked down on the gangs based on complaints received from other towns and cities. Last year they arrested Dipu Das – a gang leader who deceived a woman from Calcutta – from Ushagram in Asansol. Neeraj Paswan, Ramu Ruidas, Shankar Mondal and Akash Nunia of Neamatpur were also arrested earlier this year. Overall, 20 people have been arrested for cyber crimes in the last two years.
Police also use graffiti on walls to create awareness against cybercrime. “We made animations warning people not to share their bank and OTP details or click on suspicious links,” said an officer of the Asansol police station’s information cell.


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