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Indian police nab fraudsters who cloned fingerprints to spoof Aadhaar



Police in the Indian city of Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh State have busted a gang of fraudsters which had been stealing money from victims’ bank accounts using cloned fingerprints.

The arrest followed investigations after a victim complained that 89,550 rupees (US$1,000) had been withdrawn from his account without his knowledge, the Deccan Chronicle reports.

The illegal withdrawals were done using stolen biometrics with the Aadhaar-Enabled Payments System (AEPS) and the money transferred into different HDFC Bank accounts operated by the fraudsters, per the police.

According to the article, the probe led to the arrest of two key suspects who are reported to belong to a larger criminal ring which has defrauded over 400 victims in India. The suspects, who are registered as customer service points for digital government and banking services, were picked up in the State of Uttar Pradesh, at the other end of the country to Kadapa.

Speaking after the arrest, Superintendent of police K.K.N Anburajan, said the suspects were involved in 128 fraud cases in different states across the country. They had collected the Aadhaar numbers and fingerprint biometrics of more than 100,000 people in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The gang members also confessed to having defrauded 440 victims.

The police explained that members of the busted gang carried out their illegal activities by scanning data and cloning fingerprints on to butter paper (baking parchment) using a polymer sheet and using Photoshop to improve on the quality of the prints. The cloned fingerprints are then place on a fingerprint scanning device for ID authentication.

Deccan Chronicle mentions that at the time of their arrest, the suspects were in possession of items which included a biometric machine, a rubber thump impression printer, polymer liquid, temperature modulator, plus other substances which they used to clone fingerprints.

In June last year, many persons were arrested by the Cyberabad police in Telangana over bank fraud using spoofed fingerprints.

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