New Delhi: As cyber crimes sweep the country, the unscrupulous scamsters behind them have been employing various innovative means to defraud their victims. From impersonating law enforcement officials to engaging in elaborate “pig butchering” schemes, the fraudsters have left no stone unturned in their pursuit of ill-gotten gains. Among the rising scams is the notorious romance scam, where criminals manipulate emotions to extract significant sums of money from their victims.
In a breakthrough in January, the Delhi Police’s IFSO unit successfully arrested four people, including a woman, hailing from West Bengal.
The culprits had been operating a sophisticated scam, posing as officials from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and exploiting innocent people with a fabricated story involving the Mumbai Customs Department.
The arrested accused were found to have engaged in a particularly insidious variant of the scam, informing their victims that a parcel in their name had been seized by Mumbai Customs, allegedly carrying MDMA narcotics drugs.
Exploiting the fear and panic induced by these false claims, the fraudsters then proceeded to blackmail their victims, demanding substantial sums of money in exchange for avoiding legal consequences.
“On interrogation, from the accused persons it was revealed that they all are a part of an organised gang headed by a woman, identified as Khushbu Khan, graduate from West Bengal and she used to arrange the fake SIM cards and multiple bank accounts were opened by her on forged name, address and forged Govt photo IDs,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (IFSO) Hemant Tiwari said. “For siphoning off the cheated amount they used many fake bank accounts and further transfer the cheated amount to foreign country-based fraudsters thorough USDT,” he said.
The DCP said that the modus operandi of this gang is that they used to contact the victims initially posing as DHL/FedEx employee informing that Mumbai Custom has seized a parcel on their name carrying MDMA Narcotics Drugs. Over the call, DHL/FedEx employee will connect the video call to someone posing as a CBI official and will even show the CBI office premises over the video call.
Nithin Kamath, the founder and CEO of Zerodha, an online brokerage firm, had also addressed the issue of the pig butchering scam on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“The scale of pig butchering scams in India runs into tens of thousands of crores. It is scary how many people fall for fake job offer scams, scammy high-return investment schemes and crypto investments, etc.
“As the name implies, a pig butchering scam involves fattening the victim before butchering. Scammers gain the trust of users by using fake profiles. They use the pretence of love and friendship to gain the trust of users and then induce them to send money for jobs and high-return investments and steal the money. These scams are global, and their scope is staggering,” he wrote on X.
“What makes these scams even more cruel is that the person scamming could also be a victim of another type of scam. Many fall into the trap of international job offers from scammy companies. Once abroad, they are held captive and forced to scam Indians by building trust using social media platforms, typically using fake profiles of the opposite sex,” he tweeted.
“It is essential to talk about this frequently with as many people as possible, given the scale of the problem. Everyone around us is a potential victim, regardless of whether they are educated or not. Quick money and a job abroad is a honeypot that gets many Indians to act instinctively.
“The Government through its cybercrime division, is trying to fight & improve India’s response for which they’re hiring. You can check out @Cyberdost,” the tweet added.
Earlier, Delhi Police had arrested a 25-year-old Ghanian national who allegedly cheated people by making fake profiles of NRIs of US and UK citizens working as doctor, pilots.
The accused was identified as Big Jos a.k.a Joseph, presently living at Chander Vihar and a permanent resident of Ghana, had duped several people through Instagram and whatsApp on pretext of sending them expensive gifts.
The officials further said that during scanning of the Jos three banks account, more than Rs 16 lakh transactions were found.
According to police, a complaint from Babli was received at Cyber police station in outer district, in July, in which the complainant alleged that she had received a friend request on her Instagram account from one unknown user.
She accepted the friend request and the person told her that he is from the US and working as a pilot there. They started regular conversations or chatting on WhatsApp also with numbers of other foreign friends.
“Later on, the said Instagram user told her that he is sending her a gift parcel having USD also. After that, she also received a phone call from a woman caller who told her that she is calling from the Custom Department. She shared three account numbers for payment of money in lieu of custom duty,” said a senior police official.
“The complainant paid Rs 1.71 lakh for the custom duty and other taxes. The mobile numbers used by alleged persons were found switched off and the alleged user also deleted the WhatsApp chat,” said the official. (IANS)