Bengalureans lose Rs 65.19 cr in 5 months to FedEx scam

With 521 cases till May, it is a 71% jump compared to the whole of last year
Bengalureans lose Rs 65.19 cr in 5 months to FedEx scam

BENGALURU: The FedEx scam, which started off by luring victims with a simple phone call, has changed its avatar multiple times, becoming increasingly difficult to crack nowadays. According to latest data, Bengalureans lost Rs 65.19 crore to this fraud alone in the first five months of this year, with 521 cases registered till May. This is a whopping 71% jump in just five months as compared to the whole of 2023 when people lost about Rs 30.81 crore.

Of the 521 cases, the highest were recorded in the Whitefield division where people lost over Rs 14.73 crore, compared to Rs 6.47 crore last year.

Cyber police officials told TNIE that fraudsters begin with a deceptive phone call, posing themselves as representatives of FedEx. Over time, they have introduced video calls, where fake officials appear, to enhance the credibility of the scam. They then direct their victims, over the call, to a ‘police officer’, who too is part of the scam.

A senior official said that the scam has evolved significantly with technical sophistication. It now includes a higher use of mule accounts to receive and reroute money, spoofed numbers which display fake caller IDs to appear legitimate, voice modulation to disguise the caller’s voice, and use of payment gateways hosted on servers located outside the country for processing fraudulent transactions.

The official highlighted that this year, the trend escalated to a point where cyber fraudsters coerced a woman lawyer to strip in front of the camera, held her in digital arrest for 36 hours and duped her of Rs 15 lakh. In another case, they manipulated a 70-year-old journali st and digitally arrested him for eight dawys.

The complexity of the crime, which shields the mastermind, has increased, the official said and explained that previously, police could often crack a few layers and recover funds if the crime was reported promptly. But now, each crime involves over 100 mule accounts that are used to redirect funds. “The fraudsters ensure that no account holds over Rs 10,000 by blocking all accounts once funds are received and then rerouting the money through other bank accounts,” the official said.

He emphasised that telecommunications companies need to ensure that customers cannot make online payments while engaged in phone calls. This precaution is crucial because fraudsters often distract and deceive victims during calls that begin innocuously with requests for OTPs and basic personal information.

Personal info not requested: FedEx

FedEx does not request personal information through unsolicited phone calls, mail, or email for goods being shipped or held, unless requested or initiated by customers. If any individual receives any suspicious phone calls or messages, they are advised to immediately contact the police or report to the cybercrime department, the company clarified.

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