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Duped under guise of ‘national security threat’, Pune woman loses Rs 1.6 cr to cyber fraudsters | Pune News | #cybercrime | #infosec

A 67-year-old Pune woman lost Rs 1.6 crore of her life savings to cyber criminals after receiving a call saying that her phone number was to send lewd messages and that she had been booked by the Mumbai police.

She was threatened with an arrest warrant under the guise of ‘national security threat’ and ‘Supreme Court case’ and was warned that any disclosure of her ordeal would result in the arrest of her children and seizure of their assets.

A First Information Report in the case was registered at Cyber Crime police station of Pune city earlier this week by the 67-year-old woman who is a resident of Kothrud. In the first week of May she received a call from a man posing as an officer from Tilak Nagar police station in Mumbai. While the man identified himself as a sub inspector, the name he used was that of an IPS officer currently posted in Pune.

He told her that lewd messages were sent from her phone number and had sought her personal, financial and Aadhar details for further clarification. He then claimed that an ‘FIR had been registered in the ‘Supreme Court’ and that the charges included money laundering as well. The man told her that a CBI officer would call her and help.

The next day she received a video call from a man posing as a ‘CBI officer’ with the name of another serving IPS officer. The officer told her that in order to verify whether the money in her account was legitimate and not used in money laundering, all the funds from her account would have to be transferred to ‘beneficiary accounts held by the Reserve Bank of India.’

Festive offer

The officer told her that the case against her was covered under ‘national secrets’ and that there were serious criminal acts done from the account. Fearing legal consequences, the victim made large transfers of Rs one crore and Rs 29 lakh from two different accounts.

While making these transfers, the complainant was made to remain on messenger calls claiming she was under surveillance. She was told by the ‘CBI officer’ that if she discussed any details of the case with anyone in the family, her children would be arrested and their assets would be seized by the government. She was further asked to make transfers of Rs 50 lakh to be deposited to the ‘Supreme Court.’ The woman further transferred over Rs 30 lakh.

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As the cyber criminals kept raising their demands, the woman finally confided in her daughter who told her that she had been cheated by cyber criminals. She registered a complaint with the Cyber crime portal and the case was subsequently referred to the Cyber Crime police station of Pune City.

An officer from the Cyber crime police station said that the modus operandi of the crime is the same as that of drugs in parcel scam, however reasons for threatening the victim are different. In a similar case registered at Wakad police station in Pimpri Chinchwad, a software engineer in his 40s was cheated of Rs 40 lakh after he was told that his number was being ‘used to abuse a woman’ and he threatened action under ‘National Secret Rule.’

In these kinds of scams, fraudsters impersonate IPS officers to deceive victims. They coerce victims into transferring money for various reasons, including customs fees or legal charges, and by also claiming that their bank accounts are at risk from hackers. Callers often intimidate victims as well, claiming they’re under surveillance of the authorities.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First uploaded on: 09-06-2024 at 21:22 IST

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