A 29-year-old Cuffe Parade resident recently fell prey to a new telemarketing fraud in which he was conned into recharging several pre-paid SIM cards for Rs42,000 in order to claim his million-pound lottery amount, after which the money was siphoned off and the cards deactivated, the cybercrime police said.
It is yet to be ascertained how the balance on the SIM cards was transferred, the police said.
In the last week of April, Jonathan D'souza (name changed as the cyber police do not reveal identities of complainants) received a call on his mobile phone during which the caller said that his number had been selected in an online lottery and he had won a million pounds, said an officer from the cyber police station at Bandra-Kurka Complex.
While D'souza was elated, he was also sceptical. The officer said that the caller won D'souza's trust by telling him that he could claim the prize money right away. He told the businessman to go to the shop where he usually recharges his pre-paid card to claim the prize money, the officer added.
When D'souza reached the shop situated in Cuffe Parade, the caller asked him to hand over his phone to the owner. "The caller told D'souza to ask the shop owner to follow his instructions so that he can get the prize money," added the officer.
The caller then gave a list of several pre-paid numbers and asked the shop owner to charge the talk-time on them. "Since the shopkeeper had been told by D'souza to follow the instructions, and the fact that he was a regular, he charged them for Rs42,000," added the officer.
When asked why D'souza did not intervene, the officer said, "When we asked him, he told us that he believed that since the money had to be transferred from abroad, it would require a long-drawn technical process that was being followed by the shopkeeper."
When the caller disconnected about an hour later, D'souza asked for his prize money, but was handed a bill of Rs42,000 instead. After a long argument, D'souza realised he had been cheated.
He immediately approached the Cuffe Parade police station, from where he was directed to the cyber police station. Senior inspector of cyber police Nandkishore More said, "Most of the numbers are from Bihar and Jharkhand. However, they have been deactivated."