Last month, a 26-year-old Gurunath Lingesh, a software engineer from Chennai, was certain of being the happiest man alive. Reasonably so, thanks to an early morning email, which mysteriously appeared in his inbox and declared him the sole winner of a lottery worth close to a million British Pounds.
“It seemed too good to be true and fool-proof at first.
The sender claimed that the email had been sent on behalf of the Coca Cola Company and the Clydesdale Bank based in the United Kingdom,” Lingesh, a resident of MB Street near Chennai’s Mount Road, said.
What further helped calm his unsteady nerves were four words prominently displayed throughout the said email. The same words which he had learnt to trust while growing up, and displayed on each currency note that he had ever spent: Reserve Bank of India (RBI). During the coming 10 days, Lingesh was systematically bled of R2.8 lakh of his hard-earned savings through the machinations of a gang of cyber frauds.
The only stroke of luck he seemed to have had was being found scouring the streets of south Delhi by someone associated with the Jagruk Nagrik Suraksha Sangathan (JNSS), a local NGO. “There were several emails that were exchanged between me and them after the first one asking me to deposit money in Delhi-based bank accounts on one pretext or another. They started by asking me to deposit R35,150 in a State Bank of India (SBI) account held by someone called Mary Lukha, which I did on October 21,” he said.
Two days later, Lingesh received an email bearing the postal address of the RBI asking him to deposit R1.47 lakh and another on October 25 requiring him to deposit R98,000 in two ICICI Bank accounts.
As soon as he made his last payment, needless to say, his seeming internet-based benefactors stopped responding. Lingesh has now approached the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Crime Branch.
“We have received a complaint about the matter and are investigating the complainant’s claims before a criminal case is registered,” said a senior police officer.