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Over 200 people duped via fake power bills; 65 accused in police net 

Accused would threaten victims with disconnection if bills were not paid

September 09, 2022 01:32 am | Updated 01:32 am IST - New Delhi

In a 10-day long operation across 22 cities, 30 people were arrested while 35 others were issued warrants and asked to join probe for duping over 200 people on the pretext of paying their electricity bills, cyber police said on Thursday.

The accused used to instal a remote-access software in the victims’ mobile phones and later access their one-time password, the police said.

The police said that it had come to light that some fraudsters were sending random messages to people that their electricity bill had not been paid. They were threatened that their connection would be disconnected if they were not paid in time.

Share account details

The victims called on these numbers as they did not find it suspicious. They were then connected to the alleged fraudsters, who would pose as electricity department officials. The accused would manage to get the bank account details of the victim or instal a remote-access software on their phones. Once the details were shared, the accused used to transfer money from the victims’ accounts.

During investigation, the police found that more than 200 complaints were lodged detailing the same modus operandi. More than 1,000 complaints were received across the country.

Raids in over 20 cities

During inquiry, the police found that the fraud network was spread in several States across the country. The police formed different teams and conducted raids in more than 22 cities, including Jaipur, Indore, Ludhiana, Jamtara, Karmatand, Kolkata, Gandhinagar and Surat, arresting the accused, DCP (IFSO) K.P.S. Malhotra said.

SIM card vendors, account holders and providers, E-Mitra and their accomplices, and a few tele-callers were involved in the fraud, the police said.

BSES alerts consumers

In an official statement on Twitter, BSES, the electricity distribution company in Delhi, said, “Beware of fraudulent calls and messages, prompting consumers to pay their electricity bills using suspect calls and messages. We request consumers to remain alert and pay electricity bills only through bona fide platforms like BSES website, mobile app and e-wallets.”

“BSES officials are also educating consumers during in-person interactions and in RWA meetings to be alert on fraudulent calls and messages regarding electricity disconnection, bill payment, etc. and not click on unknown links or call on suspicious numbers received through SMS/e-mail,” statement said.

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