'Dawood Ibrahim is my chacha': How a journalist outwitted scammers pretending to be Mumbai Police

Explaining his encounter with the scammers, the journalist tried to caution the public, especially the elderly to not to fall prey to such modern-day ‘sophisticated scams’.
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 08:27 IST
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 08:27 IST

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An investigative journalist, Saurav Das, recently brought out an online scam to light, which involved a gang of fraudsters who have been allegedly impersonating a Mumbai Police officer. He outwitted the scammers using the reference of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

The journalist shared a detailed account of his encounter with the scammers on X (formerly Twitter).

Saurav wrote in the post, explaining about the scam that began with an automated voice call, falsely claiming to be from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The robot said that his number would get blocked in 2 hours and to press 9 for more info, he added.

He said, “The entire call lasted about 1 hour and I was quite convinced that it was genuine.” Warning people in his viral post on X, Saurav said that one of the fraudsters pretended to be a Mumbai cop named ‘Pradip Sawant’.

“That led me to the first guy who pretended to be from the Telecom Division. He told me someone in Bombay Andheri East has lodged a complaint against a number registered through my Aadhaar for illegal advertising and harassing texts. Apparently, the @MumbaiPolice have sent them the blocking request and so TRAI would have to block all the numbers associated with the owner,” Saurav added.

Details of the FIR were shared with Saurav and the person on the call later said that the call was being forwarded to the Andheri East police station.

Saurav further stated, “He asked me to ask the police to send them a ‘clarification letter’ that my original number is mine and I am not associated with the case to avoid the block. ‘There are a lot of identity theft going on in India’ he said.”

“That led me to the second guy who told me he’s the police SI in Mumbai Police. He took some details and said my statement would have to be recorded since I can’t be physically present in Bombay,” Saurav added.

Saurav thereafter said that he received a video call from a third guy, who apparently spoke good English and was dressed in a police uniform.

Saurav shared the number of this guy in his post on X, along with a screenshot of the page, which identified the caller as Pradip Sawant and had a purported logo of Maharashtra Police.

Saurav then said, “First hint of doubt, no Marathi accent,” was what struck him to begin with. “Called his Head Constable in English and passed an order ‘to investigate my case. I played along.”

The journalist further added that the fourth guy, who posed as the head constable, was recording his statement. On asking his Aadhaar number, he gave the wrong details to the guy and wanted to see what these guys would actually do with it.

Thereafter Saurav added, “The guy was talking on the walkie-talkie (some good production). Apparently, I was involved in a ‘65-crore money laundering case’. This got too funny there and honestly, cringe. ‘Kya aap kuch chhupa rahe ho hum se,’ he asked. I told him Dawood is my chacha. ‘Who Dawood?’ he wondered. ‘Dawood Ibrahim. He’s my chacha (uncle)’. I told them to piss off and that was it.”

The journalist tried to caution the public, especially the elderly to not fall prey to such modern-day ‘sophisticated scams’.

“The point is that the scammers are now a lot more sophisticated in their tactics. I don’t see a reason why my parents, older generation won’t fall for this. I bought the entire skit for 30 minutes,” he added.

He also requested the Mumbai Police to take note of this event where scammers tried to impersonate their officers and try to carry out such crimes.

A user also claimed that a fake identity card of Pradip Sawant is also being widely circulated by scamsters, to which the Mumbai police also responded.

Several other users on X shared similar experiences, where they too claimed to have received a call from the fake ‘Pradip Sawant’.

Published 25 April 2024, 08:27 IST

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