‘New account fraud’
CTTC officials have discovered a transnational syndicate that embezzles hefty amounts of foreign currencies through an international brokerage house.
Under the guise of working for outsourcing firms, members of the syndicate create fake accounts in the brokerage house and embezzle US dollars in what officials are calling the "New Account Fraud".
Cyber Crime Investigation Division of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit stumbled upon the syndicate after analysing their activities on social media, officials said.
From there, they arrested two fraudsters -- Md Sajid Hossain Setu and Md Ziaul Hoque, owner of outsourcing firm Digital IT Solution -- from Sirajganj in a special drive on Tuesday, AFM Al Kibria, deputy commissioner of CTTC unit, told The Daily Star.
"We have come to know the syndicate has opened around one lakh accounts in the international broker house and embezzled over USD 15,000," he said.
"We're now collecting account statements of the arrestees and scrutinising them. We'll be able to say how much money they have embezzled after this."
The syndicate first collects personal information of foreign nationals, including social security numbers and account details of foreign bank accounts.
Against one bank account, it is possible to open 300 to 400 brokerage accounts, officials said.
Once an account is opened at the brokerage house, the equivalent of one dollar is sent to the foreign national's bank account to taste its transaction system.
The brokerage house then takes back the money within the next two days.
For a day, syndicate members open hundreds of such accounts. Before taking
back the one dollar into the brokerage house's fake account, they simply transfer the money into another foreign account.
They then post on social media seeking buyers for the bank account, citing its 300-400 dollar deposit.
If anyone shows interest, the syndicate sells it to the buyer and receives the payment through mobile financing services in Bangladesh.
"Ziaul, owner of an outsourcing firm in Sirajganj, used to appoint people to open the accounts and paid Tk 5 for every account. Around 30 to 40 people were found working in the firm at night," Chatak Chakma, assistant commissioner of CTTC unit, told The Daily Star.
Asked how the syndicate collected the foreign nationals' information, Chatak said the arrestees collect them from social media groups where this kind of data is sold.
"We are looking at how many people are involved in such fraudulent activities," he said.
A case was filed with Ramna Model Police Station against the arrestees.
Investigators said the syndicate has contacts in several foreign countries. They said they will notify those countries.
CTTC DC Kibria said awareness needs to be created among people who are involved in freelancing or outsourcing, as many of them often end up getting involved with such syndicates without knowledge.