Chennai

Software professional dupes over 700 job aspirants

The city police have detected a major online job fraud by a former software professional who was running a fictitious call centre at Kolathur and duped more than 700 job aspirants by sending forged call letters and holding virtual interviews.

Investigation began a few days ago, with Amarnath, 31, an engineering graduate who lost his job because of the lockdown to check COVID-19, filing a complaint that he was cheated by an unknown person who pretended to be working in a prominent IT company by offering a job in another company on payment of ₹20,000 in charges. After receiving payment through a mobile wallet, he vanished and became unreachable, he said.

“Since then, we have been analysing electronic evidence to trace the suspect. Finally, we traced his location to Paper Mills Road at Velan Nagar near Kolathur, where a call centre was being run with a couple of young women to attract job aspirants,” said a police officer attached to the Adyar Cyber Crime Cell.

The suspect Prabhu, 31, a B.Sc. graduate, was working with a prominent software company in MEPZ, Tambaram, in 2015. Since he was drawing a salary of ₹25,000, he was struggling to make ends meet. Collecting details of job aspirants from a job portal, he began to cheat them one by one, posing as a representative of a recognised consultancy of a leading IT company. He was arrested by the Tambaram police and served a month in jail.

After coming out, he started a business but it failed. Then he returned to fraudulent practices. He registered himself as a consultant on job sites like Quikr and Naukri. Prabhu received details of 100 people with IT and technical background looking for jobs for ₹5,000. From his call centre, the telecallers called the victims and offered jobs in IT companies on payment of a commission.

This time, he conceived an idea to evade the police radar with the help of Solomon of Ambattur, a small-time robbery offender, whom he met in prison. Solomon and his associate Yuvaraj met migrant labourers and daily wage labourers at liquor shops and procured ATM cards and SIM cards registered in their names for ₹5,000.

Prabhu used those SIM cards to call job aspirants and used the ATM cards and bank details of migrant labourers to open new accounts to receive the money from job aspirants whom he cheated. Thus, he earned ₹15 lakh-₹30 lakh in three months during the pandemic.

“The suspect used a website to spoof the e-mail id of a HR personnel from his former IT company. Since he worked for some years in the IT company, he was well-versed in the procedures of an interview or asking technical questions. He also knew the e-mail ids of the members of the human resources team. He sent fake appointment orders after receiving money from the victims,” said V. Vikraman, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Adyar.

The police suspect that he could have cheated more than 700 persons since he was operating for four years and have appealed to job aspirants not to fall prey to fraudsters who demand money on the pretext of offering jobs.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 12:14:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/software-professional-dupes-over-700-job-aspirants/article33033997.ece

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