Cheaters targeting posters of online rental ads: Police

Fraudsters pose as Army officers and approach potential landlords
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

KOCHI: Beware house owners looking to rent out property by posting ads on online platforms! Cheaters are now targeting them by evincing interest in the units and syphoning off money from their bank accounts.

Two such cases were reported to the Ernakulam Rural Cyber Police Station in the last two weeks. In both cases, fraudsters posed as Army officers and approached potential landlords. The most recent case was registered based on a complaint filed by a 38-year-old Nedumbassery native.

“On November 22, the complainant received a call from a person claiming to be an Armyman. The caller said he was interested in renting out a house advertised by the complainant. The caller spoke in English and Hindi and sounded very convincing. The fraudster managed to earn the trust of the complainant,” a police officer said.

The fraudster claimed that he holds a special bank account for Armymen. He convinced the complainant to transfer a small amount of money to confirm the authenticity of his account. “As soon as the money was transferred, around double that amount was returned to the complainant’s account. In this manner, the accused convinced the complainant to part with around Rs 80,000. The payment was made to an ICICI Bank branch in Aligarh. Following the transaction, the accused could not be accessed,” he said.

In a similar case, a Thiruvaniyoor native lost around Rs 2 lakh after being approached by a person claiming to be a member of the armed forces earlier this month. “There have been incidents in which the accused sent QR codes or links convincing house owners to scan them for completing transactions. The armed forces are being used as a cover to earn the respect of the public. Victims should report such crimes within an hour to see their money returned,” an officer said.

At a glance
Two cases were reported in the last two weeks in which the person claimed to be an Armyman evincing interest in the property and syphoned off money from the bank accounts of the landlord.

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The New Indian Express