Five booked for Rs 2.4-crore insurance fraudUpdated: Oct 21, 2020, 22:53 IST
The police on Tuesday booked five persons for allegedly duping at least 27 people of more than Rs 2.4 crore in the last four months, on the pretext of premium payments for their insurance policies. The police said they have traced the fraudsters to remote areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and have dispatched personnel to make the arrests.
According to the police, the fraudsters created fake email ids of a reputed city-based insurance company and forged their letterheads and logos to project authenticity. On the pretext of seeking premium repayments, they duped the people to make payments to their bank accounts. After receiving the money, they stopped taking the calls.
A case under sections 419 (impersonation) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal code and Section 66 D of Information Technology was registered at the Cyber Crime police station after the police verified all complaints. The police said that insurance frauds have gone up this year, with 18 cases being reported so far in 2020, compared to four cases in 2019.
The incident was reported to the police by a city-based insurance company, whose 27 customers complained to the company, which suspected foul play following an internal investigation. A complaint was made by a senior manager of the company to the police last month, following which a case of fraud was registered at the Cyber Crime police station.
It is suspected that the fraudsters obtained the data through third-party agents or touts, the police said, although it is yet to be ascertained.
Karan Goel, assistant commissioner of police (DLF), said that during the probe, they found that fraudsters were impersonating representatives of the insurance company to dupe existing customers and those showing an interest in buying a policy.
The fraud victims said they started getting calls from the imposters from May, after they had skipped payment of the premium of their term insurance. “In June 2016, I bought a life term insurance policy, whose annual premium was due every June. I had paid a premium for two years consecutively. However, last year I skipped paying the premium and thought I will pay it fully in 2020,” one of the victims, who was duped of Rs 5 lakh, told the police in a statement.
Goel said that the victims have shared all pertinent data — forged quotations, fake and fabricated renewal notices received by them, forged logo of the company and proofs of payment made to bank accounts.
“A few customers (of the insurance company) have also shared screenshots of WhatsApp chats with the imposters. One of the customers has also shared an audio clip of the conversation with the imposter and one has shared a forged ID card purported to be issued by the complainant company. Records reveal that there are certain imposters who have been defrauding existing and new customers by pretending to be its employees,” he said.
The police said this is not the only case and that more than six private insurance companies have contacted them with similar complaints.
Police commissioner KK Rao said they have formed a team and involved their cybercrime investigators to probe the case. “We have taken all details from the company, bank accounts and the details of their cellphone numbers. The suspects switched off their mobile phones after making the calls but had the same mobile numbers, which they used every day for three months. So, it is earlier for us to identify their locations. We will arrest the suspects using technical surveillance soon, as teams have been left for six areas in UP and Bihar,” he said.
Rao said they have duped more than 60 people as per the records they have recovered, but they are yet to ascertain exact details and that the company has received only 27 complaints so far.
According to the investigators at the Cyber Crime police station, the number of people falling victim to online frauds has increased during the lockdown.
“Mostly, people are using digital payment options without observing the necessary precautions, which makes them prone to online fraud. People are now glued to their phones and cybercriminals are taking advantage of this by posing as insurance representatives or e-commerce sellers,” said Rao.