J&K terror link used as pretext in to scam Pune woman of Rs 13 lakh


PUNE: A person identified himself with the name of a serving IPS officer from Maharashtra and even showed his identity card.

“YOUR BANK account is linked to terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir,” was a message a 47-year-old resident of Kothrud received by a man posing to be an IPS officer. This is yet another ‘drugs in parcel’ cyber scam reported in Pune with yet another false pretext used to pressure the victim into making large money transfers.

An FIR in the case was registered earlier this week at Kothrud police station by a 47-year-old resident woman resident of Paud Road, who works for a private company. In the second week of March, she received an Interactive Voice Response (Automated call) call. After she responded to it, she was told by a person posing as an executive of a courier company that in a parcel sent by her to Taiwan, MDMA drugs had been seized and that an FIR had been registered at ‘Narcotics Department’ in Mumbai.

She was told that she will have to come to Mumbai for an investigation. When she said that she had not sent any parcel, she was told to complete a procedure over a video call. She was made to download a video calling application and received a call from a profile with a display picture reading ‘Mumbai Narcotics Department.’

A person identified himself with the name of a serving IPS officer from Maharashtra and even showed his identity card. She was asked to send a copy of her Aadhar card and bank details. The man told her that her account was showing links to some suspects in Jammu and Kashmir and was told that it was being used for terror activities there. Over next five days she was made to make four large transfers totalling Rs 13.7 lakh on the pretext of completing false legal formalities and financial obligations in connection to the FIR. As the callers were demanding more money and larger amounts, she realised that she was being conned and approached the police. An officer from Kothrud police station said that a probe had been launched in the case.

In these scams, the victims are contacted by fake international courier service executives claiming drugs have been found in parcels addressed to them. They are told about police involvement and told to communicate via Skype with fake profiles posing as law enforcement. Fraudsters impersonate IPS officers to further 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, claiming they’re under surveillance. Over three dozen such cases have been registered in Pune since January last year.

In a similar case registered earlier this month, a 28-year-old woman was conned for Rs 5.5 lakh after she was told that tiger skin had been found in the parcel sent by her. In another recent case, a 50-year-old Pune based doctor was told that his identity was stolen and being misused in drug trafficking and money laundering. He asked to isolate himself in a hotel, was made to stay on call continuously for ‘surveillance’ and was manipulated into liquidating investments to transfer money to ‘government’s safe accounts’ in which ended up losing over Rs one crore to the cyber frauds.–(Agencies)


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