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Scammers alter fingerprint biometrics in India with limited success

Recruitment exam identity switch gambit with removed thumb skin fails
Scammers alter fingerprint biometrics in India with limited success
 

Several individuals in India have recently been involved in events that saw the alteration or theft of fingerprint biometrics. Specifically, a criminal duo in Telangana was apprehended by police for helping people who have been banned from entering Kuwait enter the country illegally by altering their fingerprints. In Delhi, a youth was arrested for duping people through their biometrics and Aadhar card details, and in Vadodara, a candidate removed his thumb skin and pasted it on his friend’s thumb in the hope of getting a railway job.

Telangana duo arrested for fingerprint-tampering surgeries

The news was reported by the India Times, which said the criminal gang was busted by police for altering individuals’ finger biometrics and then smuggling them into Kuwait.

Thanks to the fingerprint-tampering surgeries, which reportedly cost Rs 25,000 (roughly $310) each, these individuals were then reportedly able to apply for jobs in Kuwait using new identities.

“Due to visa expiry or for violating visa conditions, some people are deported from Kuwait. The accused used to perform fingertip surgeries on such people,” explains Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat.

“They then gave them a new address and identity and got them visas to go to Kuwait again. We have busted this gang.”

From a medical standpoint, the operation involved cutting the upper layer of the fingertip, removing some part of the tissue and re-stitching it, thus effectively causing a (slight) change in the fingerprint pattern.

“The person who underwent surgery can revisit Kuwait using a new identity and pass through biometric checking processes. The Kuwait immigration [technology] is not so advanced,” Bhagwat concludes.

Delhi youth cons people via biometrics and Aadhar details

A 19-year-old, identified as a resident of Krishna Vihar, allegedly stole a total of Rs 1,10,000 (roughly $1,380) from two different accounts using Aadhar details and biometrics of the victim.

According to India Today, the accused worked for a store that sells mobile accessories and updates know-your-customer details for customers’ Aadhaar and PAN accounts. He downloaded two apps named Spice Money and PayNearby App and created accounts. He downloaded Spice Money onto the victim’s mobile and used a biometric machine to extract victims’ KYC data.

The alleged perpetrator then opened the money withdrawal option through Aadhaar Enabled Payment System in the Spice Money app and entered the victim’s Aadhaar card details and bank name to transfer money from the victim’s account.

The accused, who reportedly operated from a shop where he sold mobile accessories and updated KYC tools for Aadhar and PAN cards, deleted the messages after completing the transactions.

Man removes thumb skin to share biometrics, get a job

A man applying for a railway job in India reportedly removed his thumb skin using a hot pan and placed it on his friend’s thumb, hoping to enable the latter to pass the biometric verification process and sit for the recruitment exam in his place.

The man identified as the job applicant by NDTV failed in his scheme when his proxy had the pasted thumb skin fall off, upon the exam supervisor spraying sanitizer on it during the biometric verification process.

“To prevent any sort of cheating, all the candidates were required to give their thumb impression, which was then matched with their Aadhaar data through a biometric device before the test,” reads a first information report (FIR) registered at Vadodara’s Laxmipura police station.

“At that time, the device failed to register the thumb impression of a candidate named Manish Kumar despite repeated attempts,” Varotariya said.

The exam supervisor grew suspicious, even more because the attempted test-taker allegedly tried to hide his left hand inside his trousers’ pocket. The supervisor sprayed sanitizer on the subject’s thumb, causing the skin pasted on it to fall off.

Both men were consequently arrested for cheating and forgery.

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