New Delhi, June 2
A family from north Delhi lost more than Rs 4 lakh to cyber criminals who duped them on the pretext of getting a close relative released from a prison in Australia.
Gursimran Singh, 29, recently lodged an FIR with the district cyber cell in which he alleged that his mother got a WhatsApp call from an international number where the caller introduced himself as Naunihal Singh.
“Naunihal is like my brother in family relations and he is in Australia to do his studies. He told my mother that his friends had a fight with a person after which the person died and a criminal case was registered with the police,” Singh said in the FIR.
He added, “Naunihal further said that all his friends are in jail and he is the only one out at the moment. He informed my mother that a lawyer would call her to further explain the case.”
After some time, the lawyer called and said Naunihal has also been sent to jail and they immediately needed money to deposit with the police to get bail.
“The lawyer said that if they didn’t pay, they would be behind bars for 15 to 20 years. Then he shared an account number of the State Bank of India branch in Ranchi which was in the name of Vikram Kumar Munda,” Singh said.
Initially, the fraudster demanded Rs 2 lakh which the family transferred to the given account through RTGS. Then he called again and said that the police in Australia were demanding Rs 2.3 lakh more. Gursimran once again transferred Rs 2.3 lakh, according to the FIR.
“When I paid the money, I felt something fishy and thought to cross-check with my relative about Naunihal’s well-being. Then I came to know that there is no case of crime against him and his friends in Australia. I realised that I have become a victim of cyber fraud,” Gursimran said.
Cyber police officials investigating the matter said they had received one more case in the recent past in which another family from north Delhi was defrauded in a similar fashion.
“The family has relatives in Canada and the cyber cheats called them concocting a similar story in which they said that their relatives are in jail and they need money to get them released on bail,” an officer, privy to the investigation of the case, told PTI.
“The caller shared an account number of SBI branch in Bhopal and asked them to deposit Rs 2 lakh which the family did. The fraudsters further demanded Rs 2.4 lakh which raised some suspicion. The family cross-verified and found the incident fictitious,” he added.
Sagar Singh Kalsi, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North), told PTI that the district cyber team is working on these cases.
“Through our ‘Jan Chetna Abhiyaan’ (public awareness campaign), we are making people aware of these kinds of cases. People are briefed to never trust anonymous callers or any call coming from unknown numbers. As a preventive policing method, the awareness campaigns will go a long way in tackling cyber crime in the country,” Kalsi said.