Criminals disguising themselves as bank officials to dupe people of money is not a new thing in the cyber crime world. Taking this method of cyber crime a step further, they now call victims through internet telephony by using the contact numbers of their kin and friends and narrate them a fake emergency situation in which they are and ask them to transfer a said amount to a given bank account number.
In the past few years, the cyber cell of Madhya Pradesh police has received such cases in which victims informed police that they received phone calls from the contact numbers of their near and dear ones and callers told them that the owners of those contact numbers are stuck in an emergency situation. After narrating a fake emergency situation over the phone, the accused would ask them to transfer money to bank account numbers given by them.
“The accused in these cases use voice over internet protocol popularly known as internet telephony to call their victims. This service is easily available on different websites which charge a nominal fee or provide it free. The accused first dig out some personal information about their targets, which include names and contact numbers of their friends or family members, before calling them,” said special director general of police (DGP), cyber, Rajendra Kumar while speaking to HT on the issue.
Kumar added that the accused often narrate a fake emergency situation to their victims and say that their family members or friends have met an accident or stuck in an emergency situation. After saying so, they ask them to transfer money to a given bank account number.
“Victims mostly believe the accused as contact numbers, which flash on their cellphone screens, are indeed those of their family members or friends. But in reality the accused just feed those numbers on the websites which provide the service of internet telephony,” added Kumar.
This type of cyber crime first came to light in 2011 when state’s senior bureaucrats received a complaint in which the victim informed the police of receiving calls from an unknown accused who had disguised himself as chief election officer.
“Based on the information given by the victim, bureaucrats in their initial investigation found that the accused was a 25-year-old man identified as one Ranjan Mishra who was running a gang to commit such crimes. The police arrested some of his gang members but he is still absconding,” said Kumar.
In a similar case in 2015, a 28-year-old man received a call from a person using his father’s number and the caller informed him that his father had met an accident and asked him to transfer about Rs 30,000 immediately to a bank account number.