A Kalbadevi businessman was cheated to the tune of Rs 22.92 lakh after cybercriminals hacked into his email account.
The accused read up his conversation with an agent, with whom he had finalised a deal for importing steel. They then created a similar id to that of the agent’s and mailed the complainant, Sunil Dhariwal (name changed).
Posing as the agent, the accused tricked him into depositing the money in a UK-based bank account.
After the Powai resident realised he has been cheated he approached the Azad Maidan police on Tuesday.
Dhariwal’s company, located in Kalbadevi, purchases stainless steel scrap from firms based in America, Britain, Germany, France and Kuwait through agents.
“The agents communicate with both buyers and sellers and after a deal is finalised, the buyer makes an advance payment of 30% of the deal. On receiving the payment, the foreign party sends the material through the sea, which is collected from JNPT, Navi Mumbai. Buyers then make the rest of the payment,” said an officer from Azad Maidan police station. “All the communications between the companies and the agents are done mostly through emails,” he added.
According to the police, in February, Dhariwal’s company received an email from a Bandra-based agent, with whom his company has been doing business for the past 20 years.
The agent offered Dhariwal a business proposal from a firm based in Chatelet, Belgium. Dhariwal had worked with the firm in the past.
On March 3, the agent finalised the deal through email. However, the fraudsters then sent Dhariwal a mail from a similar id and asked him to send the advance payment of $36,600 (Rs 22.92 lakh).
After sending the money on March 28, Dhariwal informed the agent. On April 6, the agent told him the money was not sent.
“We have registered a case under sections 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating) of Indian Penal Code and 66 C (identity theft) and 66 D (cheating by personation by using computer resource) of Information Technology Act on Thursday and are taking technical assistance from the BKC cyber police station,” said H Darekar, inspector, Azad Maidan police station.
Tips to keep cybercriminals at bay
* Learn what a strong password is and change your email password regularly
* Before depositing money in anyone’s account, speak to the person and confirm the transaction
* Never click on unknown links, as some of these are encrypted with bugs or viruses that could transfer all of your data, including e-mail conversation details to fraudsters.
* While sending details through email, check if the right address has been entered
* If you get a business-related email asking you to send money to another bank account, call your contact and confirm
* Do not reply to unauthorised or suspicious emails that offer prizes or lotteries. Replying to such mails could compromise your information
* Update your operating system and anti-virus
* Back up your contacts, photos and files
* Don’t use free WiFi for sharing emails or personal photos