KOCHI: In the wake of rising demand for Prime Minister’s Mudra Loan among people who are looking to start small-scale business ventures, cyber fraudsters have made it an opportunity to dupe gullible people.
Police officials have warned people against responding to messages that come through social media platforms promising Mudra loans from unknown numbers.
Recently, a 30-year-old residing at Manackappady near Iringole who responded to the Mudra loan message for starting a business venture ended up losing all the money in his bank account. Following a complaint, Ernakulam Rural Police registered a case and started a probe into the incident. According to police officials, it was on August 4 that the victim received a message offering a Mudra loan. The sender claimed that he is a government representative who facilitates Mudra loans to new entrepreneurs.
“Initially, the victim was apprehensive about the authenticity of the message. So, the accused sent some ID cards through WhatsApp to take the victim into confidence. The victim was given promise that through him the loan can be released without any hassle,” a police officer.
Thus the victim started chatting with the accused regarding his business plans and requirement of funds. Later, the accused told the victim that a part of the loan amount should be paid in advance to ensure speedy disbursal of the loan. He also took the bank account details from the victim. It was promised that the amount would be returned once the loan was sanctioned.
“Thus between August 4 and August 5, the victim paid Rs 3.09 lakh to various account numbers sent by the accused. However, after paying the amount, the mobile phone number of the accused became unreachable. Then only the victim realised that he was cheated,” a police official said.
Recently, the victim approached the Ernakulam Rural Cyber Police which registered a case and started a probe. During the probe, police found that the banks to which the amount was transferred were located in various states in North India. Police have started steps to freeze these bank accounts and retrieve the money lost by the victim. “What surprises us is that many well-educated people are falling victim to the designs of cyber fraudsters. Offers for jobs and loans received through unknown numbers or accounts on social media platforms should be ignored to prevent such frauds,” he said.