If you receive an e-mail or an SMS or a call congratulating you on receiving an astronomical amount in a lottery or simply offering to share cash in crores and asking for your account number, please ignore it.
Of course, it’s not the first time you are reading or hearing it. But, taking advantage of human greed, the fraudsters continue to lure gullible people and rob them off their hard-earned money.
The innocent people are lured into the net of fraudsters through different means like mobile messages of lottery winning, lottery winning e-mails, facilitating fund transfer and various schemes with promises of multiplying the investment within a short period of time and others.
The new ways to cheat people have come into light in the recent past.
The fraudsters lure people through what they call phishing -- criminals creating emails and websites that closely resemble those of renowned companies.
Inspector general of police (state cyber cell) Anil Kumar Gupta said the fraudsters woo people by sending email promising big sum of amount either for wining a lottery or for helping to secure a deceased person’s wealth, or promising a job in a big corporate or even securing admission in a prestigious educational institute.
“The accused call a targeted person from an international SIM card, generally of the UK and inform that he has won a lottery worth crores or send them an SMS or e-mail making the same offer. Attracted by the big amount promised, victims approach them. They are being asked to deposit money for registration or other reasons,” he said. This is how the process of fraud begins.
According to information, a total of 56 cases of fraud have been registered with the state cyber cell so far.
Mostly, Nigerian nationals or people of big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and others are involved in duping persons in this way, said an office of the state cyber cell, Bhopal.
They target youths (between 18-40 age group) of small cities or rural areas.
“Generally, people of this age group are very ambitious. They want to earn in small time. The fraudsters are trapping this age group into their net,” he said.
Recently, Cyber Crime cell of Madhya Pradesh arrested two Nigerian nationals -- Best Obire and Collins Agbeyeke -- after the complaint lodged by a BCA student of Bhopal.
The victim had been duped of Rs 4 lakh on pretext of lottery.
The lottery winning mails and SMSes are the most common type of fraud being executed with the help of internet or mobile.
At times, the fraudsters call the target persons impersonating themselves as bank employees and ask the details of bank account. After getting the account details, they either transfer amount from that account to another accounts or do online shopping.
Sometimes, criminals also use the bank account given by victim to transfer the amount from others’ account. The account holder becomes a part of the criminal act when the bank account is used in transactions and the account could be freezed or the victim could be prosecuted after the crime is caught, said another official of the state cyber cell.
A school teacher Pankaj Singh received an SMS few months ago that he has won a lottery of Rs 50 lakh but for transfer of that amount, he has to deposit Rs 5,000 in the specified bank account.
“When I received that SMS, I was surprised. Though I wanted to deposit the money, but my younger brother told me that someone was fooling me. After a few days, I read a news report that a person was duped in the name of lottery,” Pankaj said.
So is the case of Ritesh Morya, a salesman with an automobile company.
Ritesh said he received an email that one Steve Robison wanted to transfer fund in his account and for acting as channel by helping with the bank account number. But he had learnt in the past that such mails are a trap for fraud and reported the same to the cyber cell.
According to a senior officer of the state cyber cell, even the police personnel, who are aware of such incidents, fall prey to these scams.
A Chandigarh police sub-inspector, a few days ago, deposited Rs 20,000 in the bank account number mentioned in the e-mail for transferring five million dollar of lottery amount.
In January last year, Merosan Navasivayam, 21, an engineering student at MANIT, Bhopal had hanged himself to death in the college hostel, after he lost money to an online lottery scam. Navasivayam, a native of Sri Lanka, reportedly deposited around Rs 1 lakh after receiving such fake email, said a source.
“They get money, parents pamper them and are also in good colleges but still they abruptly cut short their life, which is really strange,” said a police officer.
The criminals use several methods like ATM frauds, lottery, Internet bank fraud using bank accounts of Indian customers, card cloning, job-seeking websites, online chat rooms or through unsolicited employment emails, on the name of giving donations or others.
In lottery, the accused call a targeted person from an international SIM card, generally of the UK and inform that he has won a lottery worth crores or send SMS or e-mail informing the same.
They later ask the person to send their basic detail through mail. Once fraudsters get personal details, they ask the person to deposit money for registration.
As they get deposit money, they call the person that they are coming to India with prize money.
Meanwhile, they also ask the person to deposit money in a bank account given by him to get his prize money released from the airport authorities.