Six people were arrested in Bogor, West Java, for allegedly running multiple online scams in which they defrauded customers after claiming to sell firearms and travel tickets.
“After conducting an investigation into the websites’ offerings online, we arrested six suspects in Bogor, West Java, on Thursday,” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said on Friday, adding that the suspects would be charged with fraud.
Rikwanto said the suspects, identified as A.L., I.L., S.U., S.U., W.W., and A.L., were arrested in Cikaret, Bogor.
“All six of them are the perpetrators who committed fraud through a website www.gudangsenjata.com, which offers various kinds of firearms,” Rikwanto said. “They also managed other websites: www.asiatravel.com and www.artatravel.com, both are selling travel tickets.”
He said that to lure customers, the suspects created websites advertising attractive deals. The website operators claimed they could provide firearms — illegal to own under Indonesian law — and travel tickets after the customers transferred a certain amount of money.
“So they didn’t really sell firearms and travel tickets, they created an online application to attract the customers. After that they asked the customers to transfer some money and they promised they would immediately deliver the order. After the money was transferred they disappeared by changing their phone numbers,” Rikwanto said.
He said the suspects usually sent daily text messages to 300 random people advertising the fake offerings.
“Every day there would be at least 10 to 20 people expressing their interest in purchasing the tickets. After the money was transferred, they would disappear. Every day they could pocket Rp 600,000 [$62] to Rp 10 million,” he said.
Jakarta Police general crimes director Sr. Comr. Toni Hermanto said his team had been keeping tabs on the syndicate for a month before nabbing them in Bogor.
“The investigation started based on a public report, and we immediately responded to the report because the more we wait, the more people are deceived,” he said.
The head of the city police’s mobile unit, Adj. Sr. Comr. Herry Heryawan, said that after being tipped off about the scheme, police contacted the website manager posing as a customer. The suspect asked police to transfer Rp 4 million to a bank account and promised to deliver the order immediately.
“After the money was transferred, the order was not delivered. We followed up the case by working together with the cyber crimes unit and we found out that the suspects were operating from Bogor,” Herry said.
He said the suspects had been operating for three years and were part of a bigger syndicate in operation for even longer.
Police are expanding their investigation to Sulawesi.
Herry said one of the suspects admitted to having committed fraud against hundreds of victims.
The Jakarta Police also confiscated 26 mobile phones, eight laptops, a fax machine, a car and 12 ATM cards in their raid on Thursday.