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Three cheated of 3.2 lakh after cybercriminals hack email

By Farhan Shaikh, Navi Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2020 01:02 AM IST

Three people, including a man from England, were cheated of 3.2 lakh after they received an email from a 78-year-old Nerul resident, inviting them to his wedding anniversary party. What the trio did not know was that the man’s account was hacked.

Vinodkumar Punshi, 78, runs an NGO in Navi Mumbai. As the family was celebrating New Year’s Eve recently at a Lonavla resort, his son Sidharth received an email from Punshi’s old hotmail ID. Punshi had stopped using the account since 2016 when it was hacked.

The email opened with a greeting from Istanbul, Turkey, described - with the names of Punshi’s family members - that they are on an “European tour on a boat cruise”. The mail listed Punshi’s Nerul apartment’s address and sent an invitation to join them on February 22 for his wedding “golden jubilee”.

Punshi immediately informed his friends and family by texting them about the hacked email and warned them to not respond to it, said police.

Punshi asked the resort owner Ashok Jatia, who is his friend, if he had received any such mail. Jatia told him he did not but his son Vaibhav received the mail. Before the men could caution him, Vaibhav had already replied to the mail.

“The hacker messaged Vaibhav and posing as Punshi told him he is in need of 1.2 lakh which he needs to give to a builder. Vaibhav transferred the money into the account number given in the message. Punshi’s England-based friend Naren Nanda lost 1 lakh. Another friend from Navi Mumbai, CS Jacob, lost 1 lakh,” said an officer from NRI police station.

The police said the accused may have used the details available in Punshi’s email account to send mails to his acquaintances. The cybercrime cell is also probing the case.

Meanwhile, a case under sections of the Information Technology Act along with cheating has been registered following Punshi’s complaint.

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