Rs 42.35 lakh, 7 victims. Telegram, WhatsApp-based frauds on the rise in Kannur

Three women lose Rs 60 lakh to online fraud in Thrissur
Representational image. File photo: Manorama Online

Kannur: Police on Thursday registered seven more cases in connection with instant messaging app-based online scams that duped Rs 42.35 lakh from seven individuals.

The fresh cases were reported at Kannur town, Payyannur and Kelakam police stations. In all these cases, the fraudsters trapped the victims through messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp. They duped the victims by offering online jobs for high pay and a high return for a minimum deposit.

In the first case registered at Payyannur police station, a Chakkad native lost Rs 29 lakh to a Telegram-based scammer. He had transferred the amount to the fraudster expecting a high rate of return. His deal with the cyber swindler began last month and he transferred the amount on August 20 and 22, police said.

In another case registered at the same station, a woman from Kothayimukk was duped of Rs 2.8 lakh through a WhatsApp-based scam. When she received the job offer as an IT analyst through WhatsApp, she wired the amount to secure the job. But, she neither got the job nor the amount back.

In a similar case, a Payyannur native lost Rs 1.40 lakh to a Telegram-app based scammer who promised her an online job. The police registered another case against the cyber fraudsters on charges of swindling of Rs 90,000 from a Vellur native.

In two separate cases registered at the Kannur town police station, a Chalad native and a Pallikkunnu native was duped of Rs 4.75 lakh and Rs 1.10 lakh, respectively, with the promise of a high return.

Another case in which a person lost Rs 2.4 lakh was also recorded by the Kelakam police in Kannur.

Modus operandi

In all the cases, the fraudsters approached the victims through instant messaging apps offering highly-paying online jobs, police said. 

The 'job' involves simple tasks like promoting products and services of companies through 'likes' and 'subscriptions' of websites and YouTube videos. In most cases, the scammers offered Rs 50 for 'liking' a YouTube video or website, and Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 per day.

Attracted by the high pay, people accept the offer and start 'working'. Initially, they get small sums of money as promised. Once the scammers find that their victims are hooked, they announce fresh schemes where they offer a high rate of return for minimum deposit or fresh job opportunity.

Trusting their 'employers', people transfer lakhs of rupee to the fraudsters' account, police said.

Once they receive the amount, fraudsters either disconnect their communication or convince 'depositors' that the interest is delayed due to technical reasons.

By the time they approach the cops with a complaint, they would have a substantial sum of money, a police officer said.

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