Image for representational purposes for cybercrimes.
Image for representational purposes for cybercrimes. 
Bengaluru

Led up the FedEx path? Accused may not be from India

Bala Chauhan

BENGALURU: The accused in the case of a city-based woman lawyer, who had lost around Rs 14.5 lakh in a cyber fraud case in April this year and was made to strip in front of a web camera by cyber criminals, may be members of an international cybercrime syndicate.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, East, Kuldeep Jain told TNIE that so far, the investigation has found the money trail to a country in the Middle East. “Of the total amount (around Rs 14.5lakh) the victim lost in the fraud case, we were able to freeze Rs 6 lakh, which was returned to her through court. We found the money trail to the Middle East. We have sought information from banks and are awaiting details,” said Jain. As per investigation so far, the accused may not be from India, he added.

The 29-year-old victim had received a call in April from an impostor posing as a Mumbai policeman, who told her that a consignment of 140 grams of narcotic drugs had arrived through a FedEx courier from Thailand, in her name. Soon, another fraudster who introduced himself as a CBI official, called and accused her of being involved in human trafficking and other crimes, and coerced her into revealing personal information, including her bank and Aadhaar details. She was then instructed to transfer money to a particular account. Later, the impostor forced the victim to strip on a Skype call for a “narcotics test” and was blackmailed if she didn’t transfer money.

In response to the scam, FedEx immediately released a statement that it never requests personal information through unsolicited phone calls or emails for goods shipped or held from its customers, unless requested or initiated by them, and cautioned them to immediately contact local law enforcement authorities or report to the cybercrime department of the Government of India.

Meanwhile, the Central government on Tuesday cautioned the public against growing incidents of intimidation, blackmail, extortion and “Digital Arrests” by cybercriminals posing as police authorities, CBI, Narcotics department, Reserve Bank of India, Enforcement Directorate and other law enforcement agencies.

Compromise the ‘case’

“A large number of complaints are being reported on the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal regarding these cases. These fraudsters typically call a potential victim and inform that the victim has sent, or is the intended recipient of a parcel, which contains illegal goods, drugs, fake passports or other contraband. Sometimes, they also inform that a near or dear one of the victim is involved in a crime or accident, and is in their custody. A demand for money is made to compromise the ‘case’. In certain instances, unsuspecting victims are made to undergo ‘digital arrest’ and remain visually available over Skype or other video conferencing platforms to the fraudsters, till their demands are met,” the Centre stated.

The fraudsters are known to use studios modelled on police stations and government offices and wear uniforms to appear genuine. This is an organized online economic crime and is learnt to be operated by cross-border crime syndicates.

The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), coordinates activities related to combating cybercrime in the country.

(Call 1930 - the cybercrime helpline number - or visit www.cybercrime.gov.in for assistance.)

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