India arrests 6 foreigners for SMS, e-mail fraud

Six Nigerians apprehended in Mumbai for suspected SMS and spam mail scams defrauding hundreds of people, after country identified as top source for spam, reports state.

India has arrested six Nigerians on suspicion of defrauding hundreds of people through text messaging and spam e-mail scams by duping their victims into believing they had become millionaires in a lottery and giving of their personal details and money.

The men were arrested in Mumbai on Dec. 31, 2011, and will remain in custody until Jan. 12 pending further investigations, Indian police officers said in a BBC report Tuesday.

During the raid, police seized 23 mobile phones, 14 laptops, and seven memory sticks, along with fake documents and cash, the report added.

These arrests come on the heels of an AFP news report on Dec. 31 last year identifying India as the world's foremost source of junk e-mail. Citing a report by Russian IT security company Kaspersky Labs, AFP stated that during the three-month period ending September 2011, an average of 79.8 percent of e-mail traffic was spam and, of that, 14.8 percent came from India, 10.6 percent from Indonesia, and 9.7 percent from Brazil. 

Darya Gudkova, a spam analyst at Kaspersky, went on to note in the report that the statistics reflected a growing trend for spam being sent from computers in Asian and Latin America countries. India emerged as the top source due to a lack of awareness about Internet security and anti-spam laws, which effectively give spammers free reign, she added.

Mumbai-based Internet security specialist Vijay Mukhi also told the BBC that poor enforcement of related laws meant spammers could act with impunity.

"We have an Information Technology Act that was introduced in 2000. But we don't have any convictions under it and it's silent on spam. If I'm a spammer, I would rather spam from India to India and the rest of world because nothing will happen to me," he said in the report.


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