Hubert Merlick D'Souza invested Rs. 16.5 lakh after he was lured by an SMS of winning a lottery. Following a complaint of cheating, Surathkal police were able to freeze the account of the perpetrator in Haryana where Rs. 5 lakh remains blocked. He is awaiting orders of Mangalore court to get the amount released.

The case of Maimona, another resident of Mangalore, is different. It is in her account in the State Bank of India that deposits ranging between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 15,000 were made between December 2011 and January 2012 from different places in North India. She has now been arrested by Mangalore South police on a complaint by the SBI's Assistant General Manager, who suspected the transactions following complaint by a customer who informed about the SMS he had received.

These are among the few of the victims of the big racket involved in cheating by attracting people to lotteries by sending SMS. “There are very few who report because they are afraid of being branded as duped,” said Police Commissioner Seemant Kumar Singh.

Though people like Mr. D'Souza have come forward to complain, there has not been much success for police in tracing the perpetrator. Mr. Singh said the perpetrator in Mr. D'Souza's case had given false address to the IDBI account in Yamunanagar in Haryana where Mr. D'Souza had deposited the amount. “We have been able to convince the bank to freeze the account. We could not trace him,” he said.

Similar has been the state of the investigation by the Mangalore South Police into the complaint filed by the State Bank of India's Assistant General Manager on January 21, which was based on the complaint by the bank customer Harpreet Singh. The police have suspicion on a person staying in Saudi Arabia, who helped Maimona in opening the account, of operating the account. As much as 2.75 lakh was deposited in Ms. Maimona's account between December 26, 2011 and January 16. The police said Maimona's account was one of six accounts in the district and Udupi used by the perpetrators. The Mangalore South police have sought details from the six banks about people who have deposited in these accounts. The police are also working on the information passed on by people who are getting calls on their mobile phones asking them to deposit money and win lottery.

Keywords: cyber crime

More In: Mangaluru