Ludhiana | ‘NRI relative in a pickle’: A con that conned the cops - Hindustan Times
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Ludhiana | ‘NRI relative in a pickle’: A con that conned the cops

ByMohit Khanna, Ludhiana
Apr 29, 2022 01:42 AM IST

These ‘non-resident Indians’ have three primary modus operandi – promising to deposit a lump sum in the victims’ accounts, feigning a medical emergency, and pretending to be stuck at immigration checkpoints

Cops, advocates, and laymen: the list of people scammed by online fraudsters pretending to be their long-lost NRI relatives who have found themselves in a bit of a jam is long.

Cops, advocates, and laymen: the list of people scammed by online fraudsters pretending to be their long-lost NRI relatives who have found themselves in a bit of a jam is long. (Shutterstock/HT)
Cops, advocates, and laymen: the list of people scammed by online fraudsters pretending to be their long-lost NRI relatives who have found themselves in a bit of a jam is long. (Shutterstock/HT)

These ‘non-resident Indians’ have three primary modus operandi – promising to deposit a lump sum in the victims’ accounts, feigning a medical emergency, and pretending to be stuck at immigration checkpoints. Many people have fallen for their ploy not just in rural areas, but also in urban centres, including an advocate’s father who was duped of 26 lakh, and two cops who lost 50,000 and 2 lakh, respectively.

Ludhiana cybercrime cell has lodged 30 such complaints in 27 days. It is estimated that the gang has made around 1 crore from duping people. Cyber cell in-charge Jarinder Singh says, “Always stay alert, and cross-check with relatives or even the cybercrime office before transferring money.”

Peruse targets’ social media

“The gang members, who are believed to be operating from Punjab, Delhi and Jharkhand, use information gathered from their targets’ social media accounts to make themselves sound genuine,” he says.

In the case of the advocate’s father, the accused pretended to be relatives of the victims’ niece who is settled in Australia. In case of the cop posted in the vigilance department, the fraudster posed as the latter’s father who had been caught by immigration agencies.

On April 24, the police had booked an accused for duping Amarjeet Kumar, 62, a resident of Kot Mangal Singh, of 5.8 lakh by pretending to be his nephew, who is settled abroad.

Appeal to victims’ better nature

“These scammers pretend to be their targets’ old acquaintances, and say they want to deposit cash in the soon-to-be victims’ bank accounts. They also request the targets to deposit money in the bank account of a Punjab-based person who needs money for a medical emergency. At this point, another aide takes charge, and pretends to be a relative of the patient who is in dire need of funds. He assures the victim that their NRI relative will soon deposit the money in their account, and requests for cash in the meantime,” says Jatinder Singh, adding that the accounts in which money had been transferred had fake addresses.

In some cases, the con posing as relative says he has been caught at customs check or by an immigration security agency, and requests the target to transfer money to a bank account to settle the matter,” he says.

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