Noida (UP), Nov 16 (PTI) Six persons have been arrested from here for allegedly using malware to lock up computers of American and Canadian citizens and then demanding money to fix it, police said on Friday.

The six accused ran a fake call centre in Noida’s Sector 2 and were held Thursday by a joint team of police and cyber cell, they said.

They have been identified as Prabhat Sinha, Atul Verma, Vijay Sharma, Deepak Tiwari, Suresh Goswami, Jahazeb Pasha, and all of them are IT experts, they added.

The accused were running the racket under a firm named Code Mevan, Superintendent of Police (SP), Noida city, Sudha Singh told reporters Sinha and Sharma were the company’s directors. The other four were tasked with sending the virus on computers through internet pop-ups, she said.

“Once they would get confirmation that the target’s computer has hung, the accused would call them up using an international number and tell them that they were calling from a software company’s customer care service and offer to fix the problem,” Singh said.

The accused would ask the people to make payment through PayPal Gateway.

“The gang would ask for a payment from USD 99 to USD 600 for fixing the virus. They would tell the victims to save their customer care number and use it in future for troubleshooting. A few days later they would again send the virus using pop-ups and dupe the people,” the SP said.

The gang had also created a website with an American address in the name of a company called Ingeven to convince the people of their authenticity.

A cyber cell official said it appears from the initial probe that the gang had duped “around 500 people”.

Two of the gang’s partners are absconding and searches are being carried out to nab them, Singh said.

Seven laptops, a VOIP calling device, other electronic gadgets were seized from the gang’s office, the police said.

All the accused have been booked under section 420 (fraud) of the IPC and relevant sections of the Information Technology Act, they said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.