July 17, 2024

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) recently revealed an extensive online financial fraud network. The network, which was operating out of Negombo, had victims in many foreign countries besides Sri Lanka.

The CID arrested a total of 33 suspects linked to the fraud, including a few foreign citizens. A woman had lodged a complaint on June 13 alleging entrapment in a profit-making scheme associated with TikTok videos. As per her statement, she was added to a WhatsApp group where members were paid for liking and commenting on TikTok videos.

She had earned Rs. 750 frequently this way. Later, the group had moved to the Telegram messaging service for payment processing. It was here that the woman claimed to have been scammed. The group’s administrator asked for her to deposit money into a bank account to continue receiving payments. She made deposits totaling Rs. 5.4 million on several occasions.

When she didn’t receive any further payments, she reported the incident to the CID. The department started investigating two bank accounts where the woman had deposited her money. It led to the arrest of a father and son in Peradeniya who claimed to be victims of the same scam. They were allegedly instructed by the fraudsters to open the bank accounts.

Further investigation revealed a pizza order made from one of the investigated bank accounts. The delivery address was a luxurious house in Negombo. CID officers raided this residence and arrested 13 suspects, including two women. Among the individuals arrested were nationals from Pakistan, Algeria, Nepal, and Malaysia. In addition to the arrests, officers also seized 57 mobile phones, 13 computers, and three laptops related to the fraud operation.

Based on information from the detainees, the CID raided another luxury house in Negombo. In this second raid, they arrested 19 more suspects and seized additional 52 mobile phones and 33 computers. The newly apprehended suspects originated from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.

It was revealed by the suspects that they also targeted foreigners and that part of their operations was based in Dubai and Afghanistan. (Newswire)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CID?

The CID, or Criminal Investigations Department, is a division of law enforcement that specializes in investigating severe crimes such as financial fraud.

How did the scam operate?

In essence, the scam involved a group of individuals who lured victims into a fraudulent system where they were asked to deposit money to earn cash payments supposedly for liking and commenting on TikTok videos.

How did law enforcement detect and uncover the scam?

The operation was exposed after one of the victims filed a complaint with the CID. By following the trail of fraudulent bank transactions, the CID was able to track down and apprehend the individuals involved in the scam. These investigations also led them to seize equipment used in the operation, such as mobile phones and computers.