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Bengaluru is Karnataka's online job fraud capital

Online job frauds have risen steadily in Karnataka in the last five years, totalling 9,479 between January 1, 2020, and May 25, 2024. Of this, 6,905 cases were reported from Bengaluru alone.
Last Updated : 23 June 2024, 20:43 IST

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Bengaluru: Nearly 73 per cent of online job frauds reported in Karnataka since 2020 came from Bengaluru alone, according to the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB). 

Moonlighting techies and students make up 20-30 per cent of the victims while the rest are unemployed individuals and fresh graduates, police investigations show. 

Online job frauds have risen steadily in Karnataka in the last five years, totalling 9,479 between January 1, 2020, and May 25, 2024. Of this, 6,905 cases were reported from Bengaluru alone. 

While 4,098 cases were reported last year, the number has already crossed the half-way mark (2,185) this year (until May 25), the data shows. 

Investigators feel the total cases may cross 5,000 this year but believe job fraud incidents are slowing down because of increased awareness. 

M A Saleem, Director General of Police, Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said online job frauds were "an extended form of traditional job scams where scamsters physically stick advertisements in public places and siphon off money by falsifying job opportunities". 

"The setup has changed and moved online but the primary targets and bait to attract people have not,” he told DH

He said unemployed individuals and fresh graduates actively looking for jobs were most vulnerable. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police Shivakumar Gunare, who is in charge of the tech hub of Whitefield, said that of the 10–20 online frauds reported in the division daily, 5-7 were job frauds. 

Another police officer from Whitefield said techies and college students, especially those looking to earn during their free time, made up 20-30% of the total victims. 

Techies in low-paying, work-from-home jobs or those laid off also fall prey to online jobs. Techies from middle- and lower-middle-class backgrounds, eager to earn more, are another set of victims, the officer said. 

In January this year, the Central Crime Branch (CCB) cracked down on a gang that swindled Rs 158 crore through a nationwide job fraud. 

While the CCB traced a network of mule bank accounts that received money from the victims, it found that all phone calls originated outside India. 

Saleem says these calls originate from Southeast Asia, especially Cambodia. Investigations showed many Indians were taken to Southeast Asia years ago on false job offers and forced to run such scams. "Over 300 Indians were rescued from Cambodia recently. The operation is still ongoing,” he told this newspaper. 

Data leaks

Investigations by Bengaluru police showed that scamsters hire certain people only to identify potential victims by mining their data from banks, post offices, etc. 

In many cases, these conduits work in banks for months to extract as much data as possible and pass it on to call centres, which later contact prospective victims with "job offers". 

Some members of these scouring team even work as cabbies and save their passengers' phone numbers. 

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Published 23 June 2024, 20:43 IST

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