Kannur and Kasaragod districts of Kerala have recently witnessed a surge in online scams that have left several people devastated. In a concerning series of events, individuals were lured into fraudulent schemes promising lucrative job opportunities and high returns, only to suffer substantial financial losses.
The modus operandi of such scams typically involved sending enticing job offers through various messaging apps such as Telegram and WhatsApp. Once the victims were enticed, they fell prey to the scam, resulting in unauthorised money withdrawals from their bank accounts.
In Kannur district, the scale of the scam is staggering. Fraudulent groups managed to siphon off over ₹42 lakh from seven unsuspecting individuals residing at Payyannur, Kannur, and with the Kelakam police station limits. The losses were equally distressing in Kasaragod district where many from Chattanchal, Bovikanam, and Kasaragod collectively lost over ₹16 lakh.
Among the victims, Payyannur resident P. Shijil perhaps suffered the biggest setback, losing ₹29 lakh. His ordeal began when he received a deceptive link through the Telegram app, leading to unauthorised withdrawal of the substantial sum from his bank account. A case has been registered under the IT Act in response to his complaint.
Anjali Ravindran, a resident of Payyannur’s Kothayimukku area, shares a similar fate. She lost ₹2,80,000 owing to a deceptive job offer which promised an online analyst position at Infosys. The scam unfolded between July 15 and 17, involving online transfers, Google Pay, and bank transactions.
The list of victims goes on, with T.P. Akshay and Srihari, both Payyannur residents, falling prey to the promise of lucrative job opportunities. Similarly, residents near the Pariyaram station, Kannur town police station, and Kelalam police station also reported substantial losses due to scams.
Kasaragod was not spared much either, with victims such as a resident of Talanagara losing a sum of ₹13 lakh. The fraudsters presented a seemingly lucrative part-time job with a company named Movie Platform as bait.
In response to these distressing incidents, the police have taken action by registering cases based on the victims’ complaints.
Ajith Kumar, Kannur District Police Chief, said the police are actively investigating the cases to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent further financial harm to society. Cybercrime cases have been on the rise, and the use of VPN connections by perpetrators has made tracing them challenging but not impossible, he added.
Need for vigilance
Kasaragod District Police Chief Vaibhav Saxena emphasised the importance of creating awareness among the public about the increasing cybercrimes. He urged people to exercise caution while installing apps and to be vigilant against fraudulent schemes promising quick riches.
Mr. Saxena said such incidents underscore the need for vigilance in the digital age.
People are advised to follow essential guidelines to protect themselves from falling victim to online scams, including being cautious of promises of doubling money, avoiding unknown links, and questioning requests for upfront payments for online job opportunities. It is also crucial to research online gaming platforms before investing money as these can pose risks of fraud, he pointed.