Despite crackdown, ‘courier scam’ continues unabated

The Special Investigation Team formed by the Bengaluru Police Commissioner recently arrested a gang of 14 people operating pan India

January 12, 2024 08:43 pm | Updated 08:44 pm IST - Bengaluru

Among the recent victims are a retired bank employee couple, who told the police that they lost ₹10 lakh to the scam.

Among the recent victims are a retired bank employee couple, who told the police that they lost ₹10 lakh to the scam. | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A day after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by Bengaluru Police Commissioner B. Dayananda to probe the ‘FedEx courier scam’ unearthed a case and arrested a gang of 14 people operating pan India recently, a couple who are retired bank employees approached the police with a complaint that they had lost ₹10 lakh to the same scam, indicating how the racket is continuing unabated.

The victims told the police that the gang first posed as representatives of ‘FedEx’ and later, posing as “Mumbai crime branch police”, spoke to them for over three days to force them to share their bank details by threatening them with an FIR and arrest, managed to get access to their bank details and transferred money online.

The couple are among the three complainants after the arrest of the 14-member gang, a senior police officer who is part of the investigation said.

According to him, the accused operate from different parts of the country as everything is carried out online. The accused, many a time, are not known to each other and some of them are not even aware that they are a part of the racket, he added.

“The accused operate in multiple layers and the investigating team could manage to reach only two levels, while the rest of the accused working in other parts of the country and some operating even from outside the country are still at large. This means that they are operating the racket with many players and the arrest of the accused is just one component,” the officer added.

Citing an example, the police said that one of the accused arrested, Nimshad — a third-semester BCom student who was nabbed from his home in Malappuram, Kerala — was handling over 50 mule bank accounts borrowed from unsuspecting people around him.

The police said the arrested 14 were just facilitators operating mule accounts, maintaining them, withdrawing money after a series of transactions, and handing over the amount to their handlers. “We are yet to reach the main handlers and we don’t know whether they are in India or sitting outside,” said an officer. The police have frozen ₹25.4 lakh of the ₹2.1 crore lost in six cases registered in Bengaluru.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Kuldeep Kumar R. Jain said upon checking the details in the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, it was found that the accounts identified in the scam were part of 546 cybercrime cases registered nationwide. According to the police, 335 cybercrime cases related to the ‘FedEx courier scam’ were reported in Bengaluru in 2023.

“The best way to contain this scam is to spread awareness among people through the media and word of mouth. People should realise that no police officers or enforcement agency would demand the details of bank accounts. If a person gets a random call accusing them of some illegal activities, s/he should not panic if s/he is innocent. The best way to deal with this is not to entertain such calls and cut the call or call the police control room or 112 to report the matter,” Mr. Jain, who is heading the investigations, said.

Regarding the investigation, he said it was an ongoing process till the last person involved in the crime was arrested.

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