Richard Ginika Izuora
Mr. Ebigbo Innocent, a Nigerian who also operates as alias James, has been declared the most wanted cyber-criminal in Nigeria by the Police in India.
The criminal tag came as a result of a number of SIM card swap frauds linked to the alleged fraudster.
Indian media reported that Ebigbo Innocent has been fingered as the brain behind a host of SIM card swap frauds across that country; targeting businessmen operating overdraft current bank accounts of the victims.
‘‘Though Ebigbo Innocent, the most-wanted cyber-criminal based in Nigeria and mastermind behind the SIM swap fraud cases, is still absconding, cops believe that they have neutralised his network in India with the recent arrest of Mumbai’s Mira Road gang. Apart from Mumbai and Kerala police, even Hyderabad city police want to interrogate the arrested gang members in relation to the cases registered in their respective jurisdictions,’’ a report in the influential Times of India states.
According to the report the name – Ebigbo Innocent or James who is on the run currently came up after Police arrested six persons; including a Nigerian, Odafe Henry and his five associates from Kolkata in January 2019.
Also, it says the name – James – cropped up again recently; specifically during the arrest of five members of Mira Road-based SIM swap fraudsters’ gang.
“During the interrogation, the accused from Kolkata gang and Mumbai gang clearly mentioned that they were working with James. Though we are not certain if any of the names used by him are real; he communicates with the Indian gang members with that name,” Cyberabad cyber-crime inspector K Srinivas said.
Six SIM swap fraud cases were said to have been recorded in Cyberabad; where James sends phishing mails to victims, making it look like IT department mail and collects internet banking details; ID card copies and other details, including the mobile numbers of the victims.
Thereafter, his gang members based in India obtain duplicate SIM cards by forging ID of the victims; siphoning off the money from the bank account when the victim’s SIM becomes inactive.
Also, the reports says Police in Hyderabad have two SIM swap cases in which the victims lost money to James’ gang. Four members of the Kolkata-based gang were arrested in October 2020 in relation to the cases. However, they claimed that they were working with a Nigerian, Shedrick Paul.
The Police in Hyderabad believe the new name may be the same person as Ebigbo Innocent or James.
However, the Police are confident that they may have busted the SIM swap fraud network of James in India; with the arrest of his Kolkata and Mumbai-based associates.