Lure of ₹25 lakh strips Kochi youngster of ₹80 lakh

Illustration for The Hindu

Illustration for The Hindu

How much will one spend to claim a promised prize of ₹25 lakh?

As illogical it may sound, a youngster in Ernakulam rural, it has emerged, had splurged around ₹80 lakh thus falling prey to what turned out to be a North India-based thriving online racket. This is one of the proliferating cases of online fraud being reported at the rural cyber police station almost on a daily basis.

It started with the youngster receiving a ‘scratch and win’ card by post with a congratulatory message for having won it on account of his online purchases on an online portal.

The never-ending loop of fraud kicked in at that moment starting with a processing fee of ₹2,000. Since then he paid close to ₹80 lakh at different points before it was reported to the police. He was lured into each payment with the promise that the entire money will be repaid with interest.

“People should be on guard against being cheated in this manner. The fraudsters always use the names of popular e-commerce portals to trap their potential victims with ‘scratch and win’ cards offering eye-popping prizes like cars and gadgets. They then dangle those prizes to cheat the victims of their hard earned money,” said K. Karthik, District Police Chief (Ernakulam Rural).

Several instances of online fraud, including the receipt of a brick in place of an I-phone, have been reported from Ernakulam rural limits of late.

Creation of fake Facebook profiles of original Facebook account holders and sending out SOS seeking money claiming to be in distress to those in the contact list of the original account holders is also rampant going by the complaints received by the cyber police.

Locking the profiles and optimum utilisation of security features offered by Facebook will help avert this to a great extent, police said. Those receiving such requests should also verify their veracity before acceding to such requests.

Offers of online loans, calls claiming to be from banks seeking One Time Passwords to unblock debit or credit cards, blackmailing through social media friendships are some of the common ploys adopted by fraudsters, Mr. Karthik warned.

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Printable version | May 14, 2022 7:36:47 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/lure-of-25-lakh-strips-kochi-youngster-of-80-lakh/article38296832.ece