Be vigilant against cyber scams, Pathanamthitta police warn residents

Surge in cyber-fraud cases involving individuals pretending to be high-ranking police officers, appearing in uniform, and committing fraud via video calls; Over the past year and a half, 25 cases reported in district, with complainants losing ₹8 crore

Updated - July 09, 2024 08:02 pm IST

Published - July 09, 2024 08:01 pm IST - PATHANAMTHITTA

Are you receiving video calls from unknown numbers frequently? Beware of conmen who are on the prowl. Several gangs of online fraudsters are duping unsuspecting people by pretending to be officials from top investigation agencies in the country, warn the police.

Taking a serious note of the rising instances of such cyber frauds, the Pathanamthitta district police have warned the public to be vigilant against all types of scams, including innovative cyber scams. This warning comes amid a surge in cyber-fraud cases involving individuals pretending to be high-ranking police officers, appearing in uniform, and committing fraud via video calls.

According to V. Ajith, District Police Chief, these scammers contact people using phone numbers with police officer profile pictures and appear on video calls in uniform. They use the names of real officers from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), State Police, and other agencies to scare victims into believing they are involved in serious crimes. These crimes range from possessing gold or dollars illegally to visiting pornographic sites. To reinforce their claims, fake warrants or FIRs are sent to the victims, announcing that the caller is under virtual arrest.

The victims are then coerced into transferring money with the promise of clearing their name. They are instructed to transfer their entire account balance to a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) account for verification. Specific account numbers are given to the victims who are not allowed to contact anyone or leave their location until the money transfer is completed.

Two cases

“Two such cases have been registered in the district. In the first case reported in Aranmula, the victim lost over ₹14.5 lakh. In the second case, registered by the Pandalam police, the victim lost ₹1 lakh after being contacted by someone pretending to be an officer of the Mumbai police. Both victims were women,” said the official.

Over the past year and a half, 25 such cases have been reported in the district, with complainants losing a total of ₹8 crore. This includes 10 cases reported at the Cyber Police Station, while the remaining 15 were registered at various police stations in the district.

776 complaints this year

So far this year, the Pathanamthitta district police have received 776 complaints of cybercrime such as honey traps, OLX fraud, job scams, social media scams, and fraudulent matrimonial advertisements. Last year, there were 2105 complaints, and in 2022, there were 1849. Thirteen accused have been arrested in cases registered this year.

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