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70-year-old woman in T. Nagar loses nearly ₹1 crore to cyber fraudsters

Published - May 22, 2024 01:07 am IST - Chennai

A caller told the septuagenarian that she had been named in an FIR for committing a fraud; she was forced to transfer money to 3 accounts, and threatened not to inform anyone about the incident, including her family, as it was a case of national security

The Cyber Crime Wing of Greater Chennai City Police has launched an investigation into a case of cyber fraud wherein a gang of persons robbed a 70-year-old woman, who lives alone, of nearly ₹1 crore by claiming that her mobile number and bank account were used for illegal activities and transactions, including in the Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal’s alleged fraud case.

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In her complaint, the septuagenarian claimed that on May 7, she received a call on the landline at her home from an unknown person who claimed to be from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. The caller claimed that she was named in an FIR at Ghatkopar in Maharashtra. Explaining the contents of the FIR, the caller had said that a mobile number registered in her name was being used for circulating advertisements with false claims and abusive texts and that she had committed a fraud using a Canara Bank account. When she denied owning such an account, the caller informed her that someone must have used her details to open the account and told her that more details would be divulged via a Skype call.

On May 8, the first Skype call came from an ID claiming to be ‘Mumbai Police Investigation’, and a caller who identified himself as Akash Kulhari of the Mumbai police. He verbally abused her and threatened her that she would be arrested. Further, unknown persons, who joined the call, forced her to transfer money to them to verify her bank account details and said that the amount would be refunded later. When she sought time to consult with her family and auditor before transferring the money, the callers said that she should not tell anyone about the incident and threatened her that she would be arrested under the National Security Act. They also pressurised her to divulge details of her accounts, and transfer the money immediately.

The next day, she received a Skype call from a man, Vinay Kumar Choubey, claiming to be from Nehru Nagar Police station. Dressed in police uniform, he said that she should not talk to anyone about the incident as it was a case of national security. He showed her what resembled the letter head of the Mumbai police, claiming that it was the FIR, and produced another document indicating her involvement in the Goyal money laundering case.

She said that the fraudsters repeatedly called and forced her to go to her bank to transfer money to three accounts. “Between May 9 and 14, I had to apprise them of my location every two hours. I was instructed to tell them that the money was to be used for purchasing property”, the woman said in her complaint. On May 15, when she tried to connect with the Skype ID to seek refund, she was unable to find it and realised that she was cheated. Following this, she lodged a complaint. A police officer said that an FIR was registered under different Sections of the IPC and the Information Technology Act. “We have also sought details of the accounts used by the fraudsters from the concerned banks,” the officer said.

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