THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An online fraudster has embezzled Rs 14 lakh from a teacher in Kollam by creating a fake WhatsApp account using the name and picture of state police chief Anil Kant. The Cyber police station in Thiruvananthapuram has launched an investigation into the fraud perpetrated by a north Indian cyber fraud lobby.
According to police, the first message received by the complainant, P Anithakumari from Kundara in Kollam district, was that she had won an online lottery on February 12. The message came from the temporarily taken WhatsApp number 7896299494 used by the fraudster. That number used the display picture and name of Anil Kant.
The fraudsters sent the message asking her to pay the tax to the company before releasing the prize money of the lottery. When the teacher sent the message asking for more details, there was a return message purportedly from the DGP. He said in a WhatsApp message with a picture of the DGP that she would have to pay the tax or face legal action. In the message, the ‘DGP’ said he was in New Delhi, the police said.
Later, the teacher called the police headquarters to cross-check. When she was told by the headquarters that the DGP had gone to New Delhi that day, the teacher believed that the message was being sent by the DGP. Eventually, she fell into the trap of online fraudsters by sending the money to the mentioned account. A preliminary investigation by the state high-tech crime inquiry cell has revealed that a fake WhatsApp account was created from a number in the name of an Assam native, identified as Chaubi Singha.
The Cyber police have launched an investigation into the fraud after registering an FIR. The team is led by Cyber police station DySP T Shyam Lal. They have registered the case invoking Sections 419, 420, 465, 468 and 469 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 66(C) and 66(D) of the Information Technology Act. Sources close to the Cyber police said that they have started an operation to nab the culprit. The team may soon travel to north India and Assam to trace the suspect.
“Efforts are on to nab the culprit. A team will soon travel as part of it. It is learnt that a huge mafia is working behind the suspect. However, he will be brought to book soon,” an officer said. Earlier in a similar manner, north Indian online fraudsters had created fake Facebook accounts and WhatsApp accounts in the name of high-ranking police officers in the state. However, the latest fraud was carried out in the name of the state police chief himself while the police have been instructing people to beware of cyber scams.