‘Dawood is my chacha’: Journalist turns tables on scammers posing as Mumbai Police | Trending - Hindustan Times

‘Dawood is my chacha’: Journalist turns tables on scammers posing as Mumbai Police

Apr 25, 2024 10:25 AM IST

A journalist deftly navigated an elaborate phone scam by fraudsters impersonating TRAI and Mumbai Police officials.

An investigative journalist showcased immense presence of mind and wit against a group of sophisticated scammers on Wednesday during a long phone conversation.

The journalist engaged in the call with the scammers for nearly an hour.(Shutterstock)
The journalist engaged in the call with the scammers for nearly an hour.(Shutterstock)

Saurav Das took to X (formerly Twitter) to narrate the sequence of events after he received a call from the fraudsters on Wednesday morning.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

The attempt to scam unfolded in multiple stages, starting with an automated call. The voice at the other end of the line claimed that they were from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

“The robot said my number would get blocked in two hours and to press nine for more information,” Das said. The journalist, who initially believed it was a genuine call, pressed nine and was led to a man who pretended to be from the Telecom Division.

“He told me someone in Bombay Andheri East has lodged a complaint against a number registered through my Aadhaar for illegal advertising and harassing texts,” Das said. The man told him that Mumbai Police has sent them the request to block his number and hence, TRAI would have to block all the numbers associated with the owner.

The scammers went to great lengths to prove their authenticity, with the man on the phone furnishing details of a fake FIR (First Information Report) and then, forwarding the call to the “Andheri East police station”.

The man also demanded that the police share a "clarification letter" to avoid blocking the journalist’s phone number.

“There are a lot of identity theft going on in India” he reportedly told Das.

The journalist continued to engage, talking to the next person impersonating a Mumbai Police sub-inspector who said his statements would have to be recorded since he could not be present in Mumbai. Das then received a video call from a third individual in a police uniform. The man, who spoke fluent English without a Marathi accent, called his “head constable” and asked him to “investigate” the journalist’s case.

At this point, Das began doubting the whole episode as the man, who claimed to be from Mumbai Police, had no trace of a Marathi accent.

“I played along,” he said.

‘Dawood is my chacha’

The fake “head constable” was the fourth man who spoke with Das. He pretended to record his statement and asked for Das’s Aadhaar number. The latter shared an incorrect number on purpose.

“The guy was talking on the walkie-talkie (some good production). Apparently, I was involved in a ‘65-crore money laundering case’. This got too funny there and honestly, cringe,” Das said.

The man then asked him in Hindi, “Kya aap kuch chhupa rahe ho hum se? (Are you hiding anything from us?)”

Das injected humour into the situation by dropping the name of notorious gangster Dawood Ibrahim.

“I told him Dawood is my chacha (uncle),” Das said. When the fraudster asked him to clarify, Das said, “Dawood Ibrahim. He’s my chacha (uncle).”

“I told them to p**s off and that was it.”

Read the entire account by journalist Saurav Das here:

Reflecting on the encounter, the journalist emphasised the increased sophistication of modern-day scammers and cautioned the public, particularly the elderly, against falling victim to such schemes.

The journalist also urged Mumbai Police and the centre’s cybercrime prevention agency to take note of the incident to safeguard unsuspecting individuals from being scammed.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crick-it, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Quizzes, Polls & much more. Explore now! : The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch Now!
Get Latest Updates on Trending News Viral News, Video, Photos and Weather Updates of India and around the world
Share this article
Story Saved
Live Score
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, May 23, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On