Fake CBI, Customs sleuths siphon off Rs 3 cr from TVM residents

Representational Image. Photo: vs148/Shutterstockphoto

Thiruvananthapuram: Scamsters pretending to be central agency investigators and showing some forged documents related to the CBI and Customs have siphoned off Rs 2.85 crore from two Thiruvananthapuram residents.

While a 70-year-old Chartered Accountant lost a whopping Rs 2.25 crore, a trader who is currently staying at Taliparamba for treatment purposes was swindled off Rs 60 lakh by unidentified cyber criminals, who produced fake FIRs in the name of the central investigation agencies.

Both have made complaints to the cyber police, who quickly froze one of the bank accounts with Rs 25 lakh that was siphoned off from the chartered accountant.

It all started with the victim receiving a call claiming to be from Mumbai Customs. The caller said a parcel that was sent abroad using his Aadhar card and other documents was seized and found to have five fake passports and 75 g of MDMA. The Thiruvananthapuram resident was asked to personally appear before the Mumbai Customs Office as soon as possible.

Even as the shocked Chartered Accountant replied he had nothing to do with the same, the call was converted to a video call through the Skype app. The person at the other end introduced himself as a Mumbai Crime Branch official and continued the conversation. Claiming that the case was handed over to the CBI, he sent the victim the “ID of the CBI official and a copy of the FIR”. He then told the chartered accountant that to escape from the case, the latter had to prove he had no black money dealings or illegal wealth. For this, he had to share details, including his bank accounts.

When the unsuspecting victim obliged, the person at the other end demanded that 75% of the money in his bank account needed to be transferred to government accounts and that the money would be returned after a detailed examination via the Reserve Bank of India. The fraudster handed over six bank accounts. When the victim transferred the first installment, he got a fake document in the name of the Finance Department, intimating the receipt of the amount.

Then another person, introducing himself as an official of the Finance Department, appeared at the other end. Citing that the nature of the case is serious, he asked the victim to send the remaining money too. The chartered accountant thus handed over Rs 2.25 crore in two days. However, he smelled a rat when the 'sleuths' at the other end made repeated calls demanding more and more money and lodged a complaint with the cyber police.

During the probe, it was found that the money that the victim had sent to the six bank accounts was immediately transferred to 36 other bank accounts. By then, nearly Rs 2 crore had been withdrawn.

A similar modus operandi was followed in cheating the trader as well. The fraudsters made him believe that he was facing a case taken under the Indian Secret Act and sent him the “arrest warrant” in the name of the CBI. They then siphoned off Rs 60 lakh from him in four days. A special cyber team led by Thiruvananthapuram DCP P Nithin Raj is probing both cases.

Call 1930 immediately upon falling victim to cyber fraud
Dial ‘1930’ if you suspect you have fallen victim to cyber fraud. The number is that of the operating wing of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), under the Central Home Department. Round-the-clock functioning control rooms have been set up in all states for this. Upon calling this number, the authorities could freeze the bank account with the money that you lost and prevent further transfers of the same.

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