Trader goes after VIP numbers, loses lakhs

A businessman was cheated of Rs 4 lakh after being lured of getting VIP mobile phone numbers advertised through an SMS.

South Extension-resident Yogesh Gupta paid the money to get two VIP numbers, police said on Tuesday.

Yogesh had received an SMS on January 17 regarding VIP numbers like 9911111***, 9099999***, ***000000, 9444444*** and 9000000***.

“He called back on the phone number 9951000054 provided in the SMS and a man introduced himself as Akshay Shyam Agrawal,” said a police officer.

Akshay informed Yogesh that the phone numbers were being provided by Bangalore-based firm Number Vault. Akshay claimed that the limited numbers were being provided on a first-come-first-served basis and on a payment of a premium.

Ultimately, Yogesh was caught in the trap. On January 22, he transferred Rs 4 lakh to a State Bank of India account maintained by Akshay in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

“I was tempted by the phone numbers at a premium of Rs 6.5 lakh and was lured to Rs 4 lakh premium for two VIP numbers,” Yogesh stated in his complaint to police.

Akshay had also made several phone calls from VIP numbers 7075111111 and 9098989889 to convince Yogesh. However, after making the payment, Yogesh made several phone calls to Akshay, but he never attended the calls.

Yogesh then tried to gather details of Number Vault on the internet. “It turned out to be a bogus firm and several people had posted details of cheating committed by the company,” the officer added.

On January 25, Yogesh received another SMS advertisement from Akshay. Yogesh again tried to contact Akshay, but he did not pick the call.

A case was filed on Monday after Yogesh approached Special Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Taj Hassan. Akshay faces a case of cheating under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code filed with the Crime Branch police station.

A mobile phone number having a single digit in succession is considered as a VIP number. Telecom companies regularly offer VIP numbers and earn in lakhs by auctioning them off.

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