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Scammers pose as DoT officials, cheat Bengaluru woman of Rs 30 lakh

Cybercrime investigators said the scamsters set up a perfect trap to terrify their targets and eliminate any room for doubt.
Last Updated : 12 May 2024, 20:12 IST
Last Updated : 12 May 2024, 20:12 IST

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Bengaluru: Cyber fraudsters are now posing as officers from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to swindle money from the public as people become aware of cons committed in the name of FedEx and the Income Tax Department. 

A woman from northern Bengaluru recently lost Rs 30 lakh to an elaborate fraud spanning 14 days that involved impersonating Telecommunication Department officials, a concocted story of Aadhaar biometric misuse and verification of bank accounts.  

According to the FIR accessed by DH, Nida (name changed) received a phone call on April 8 from the fraudster. The person introduced himself as an officer from the Telecommunication Notification Unit, which does not exist. 

"Unknown people have used your Aadhaar biometric to buy SIM cards in Mumbai that are being used to promote illegal advertisements and carry out criminal activities,” the fraudsters told Nida, according to the FIR. 

As Nida believed the person's bluff, he connected the call to an accomplice, who further terrified her by posing as an officer from the Andheri police station in Mumbai.

The scamsters then flooded Nida’s phone with video calls from two different numbers. They claimed that SIMs bought using her name were used for illegal advertisements and opening multiple bank accounts. Such accounts are operated to carry out illegal activities, they told her.  

Cybercrime investigators said the scamsters set up a perfect trap to terrify their targets and eliminate any room for doubt. 

“The people who posed as the police claimed that they would frame my family, too, if anyone else got to know about the investigation,” Nida told the police. 

As Nida kept believing them, the fraudsters claimed her bank accounts had to be verified as part of the investigation. She was made to send a small amount first, claiming it would be refunded.But later, they kept asking her to do more transactions to confirm her bank accounts were not involved in any illegal activity.  

Nida made multiple transactions and sent a total of Rs 30 lakh to the fraudsters. She eventually saw through the fraud and filed a police complaint on May 6. 

Police have taken up an FIR under relevant sections of the IT Act and IPC Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property). 

A police officer close to the investigation said the fraud was similar to the FedEx con. Cyber fraudsters seem to be updating and changing tack to hide the familiarity, the officer said.

“Cyber fraudsters throw the names of departments and information that are less known to people to form the crux of a cybercrime. This helps them easily manipulate their targets,” the officer told DH.  

According to the officer, neither the DoT nor the police ask people to transfer money during any investigation or to carry out any process. People are less aware of how departments operate, hence, they fall prey to the web weaved by fraudsters. 


“There is a general lack of awareness among people regarding cybercrimes, and these scams are meticulously planned. The victims tend to believe everything,” said the officer. 

A recent statement from the DoT said, "The DoT does not authorise anyone to make such calls on its behalf and has advised people to stay vigilant and asked not to share any information on receiving such calls. 

“Report any fraud communications at the ‘Chakshu-Report Suspected Fraud Communications’ facility of the Sanchar Saathi portal (www.sancharsaathi.gov.in). Such proactive reporting helps DoT in the prevention of misuse of telecom resources for cybercrime, financial fraud, etc.” 

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Published 12 May 2024, 20:12 IST

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