BENGALURU: Dealing with foreign currency is tricky business. Police warn that a gang operating in the city lures the wealthy with attractive offers and cheats them of lakhs of rupees.
A case involving these criminals was reported a month ago, and yet no arrests have been made.
At an opticals store in Cottonpet, a man aged about 55 years introduced himself as Khalid and purchased a frame. He paid the proprietor Zameer Ahmed Rs 200 in advance and promised to pay Rs 900, the rest of the amount, while collecting the frame.
After two days, he came back and paid Rs 800 and 100 dirhams (worth Rs 1,800), took Zameer’s business card and left.
Two days later, Zameer got a call from a man who claimed to have 1,650 notes of 100 dirhams denomination that he was unable to convert to rupees due to problems involving proof of identity. The sum is worth around Rs 29.7 lakh. However, he said he would settle for Rs 8 lakh as he was in a rush.
To check for counterfeit currency, Zameer took the 100-dirham note Khalid had given him earlier and went to a money exchange firm. He was convinced when he got Rs 1,800 in exchange.
Excited at the thought of making a lot of money, Zameer agreed to the deal. Both the parties agreed to meet and exchange the money near Vinayaka theatre.
After a couple of days, two members of the gang came to the spot and gave Zameer a bundle of cash and told him they would give him another bundle after he pays Rs 3 lakh.
Convinced, Zameer gave the money to the duo, who left and promised to come back with the rest of the money. It took Zameer five minutes to open the bundle and see that it only had one 100-dirham note in it. Realising that he had been ripped off, Zameer rushed to Cottonpet police station and filed a complaint.
Initial investigation revealed that there are six to seven members in the gang, including a woman. The man who identified himself as Khalid in this case identifies the prey and does the ground work. Later, another person makes the phone calls and talks business while two others do the field work.
The victim says the accused spoke in Bengali and addressed him as ‘bhai jaan’. The gang had taken SIM cards from Kolar and are still at large, scouting for people to scam. Their prime targets are businessmen who witness daily transaction of money. Police request people to report such cases immediately.
Khalid had urged Zameer not to tell anyone about the deal. If Zameer had thought it over or discussed it with someone, he might not have fallen prey to the criminals.