Got ‘gift card’ call from boss? Say no

Fraudsters have come up with a new method to cheat people by impersonating as their senior officers and demanding gift cards worth thousands of rupees.

Published: 19th September 2022 03:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2022 03:52 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Fraudsters have come up with a new method to cheat people by impersonating as their senior officers and demanding gift cards worth thousands of rupees. The value of these gift cards ranges anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 and the victims include even senior police officers.

Termed ‘boss scam’, it first came to light in Chennai in July when a fraudster attempted to swindle money from corporation zonal officers of Ambattur, Kodambakkam, Adyar, and Sholinganallur by sending them a message seeking Amazon gift cards from a WhatsApp number that had Mayor R Priya’s picture as the display picture. The scammer told the officers that she was in an important meeting and unable to buy the cards herself. The officers were told they would be paid soon.

Sensing something amiss, the officers checked with the mayor’s office and discovered that no such message had been sent. The city police is investigating the matter and recently issued a statement cautioning the public, government employees in particular, to not fall for such messages from unknown sources. 

Speaking to TNIE, a senior official of the cyber crime wing said that six such cases had so far been registered in the city and that the maximum amount lost was Rs 50,000. In August, the officer said, a scammer, pretending to be a serving IAS officer, contacted a medical officer and demanded Amazon gift cards worth Rs 50,000. The medical officer bought the card and send it to the scammer. Only after contacting the IAS officer did he find out that it had been a scam. 

“Identities of almost all district collectors have been used by the fraudsters. They are now targeting other IAS, IPS and railway officers. The main reason is that the contact numbers of some of their subordinates are available on government websites.” The scammers also explain victims how to buy these cards. 

In August, after a senior police officer in Tirunelveli was duped of Rs 7.5 lakh by a Nigerian claiming to be TN DGP, a video was released by DGP Sylendra Babu explaining the modus operandi of such scams and asking the public to stay alert. He told them to contact 1122 or 100 if they suspect they have been scammed. They can also lodge a complaint on Kaval Udhavi app.


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