They would cheat gullible youths by promising them fancy mobile numbers at a premium

Two engineering students were arrested here on Friday on the charge of cheating gullible youths by promising them fancy mobile phone numbers.

Giving details to the media, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) P. Viswa Prasad said that the accused, K.A. Paul Samuel Raj (20) and T. Hemanth (21), both hailing from Rajahmundry, colluded to cheat youths who were willing to pay a premium to obtain fancy mobile numbers. Samuel Raj had studied in a private engineering college in Rajahmundry, while Hemanth was doing his B. Tech in a college in the city.

Strange modus operandi

The modus operandi of the duo was to call random mobile phone numbers and ask if they wanted a fancy mobile number? Depending on the interest shown by the other person, they would quote the price of the fancy number. The premium for the fancy number would be fixed based on the number. Those who wanted fancy numbers were asked to deposit the amounts in two account numbers.

The accused used to send SIM cards and sometimes send SIM cards with fancy numbers purchased from local retailers at cheaper rates. They used to de-activate the fancy numbers after a couple of days to sell the same numbers to other ‘victims’.

They also used to send SMS and post online messages offering “fancy numbers for sale” by giving their contact mobile numbers.

The accused also enticed those interested in ‘home based jobs’ and gathered their details and made them open bank accounts in the past. They promised to pay them Rs.2,500 a week and obtained their ATM cards. The accused duped 31 customers with the promise of fancy numbers and collected a cool Rs.3.5 lakh from them.

Mr. Viswa Prasad said that based on a complaint filed by S. Nitesh of Gajuwaka, the Cyber Crime Inspector B.V. Venkateswara Rao and his team kept a watch at ATMs and arrested the accused when they went to draw money from an ATM. He said that Rs.1.36 lakh in cash, seven cell phones, two LED watches and a wi-fi router were recovered from them.

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