PUNE: A 42-year-old assistant professor from a city-based college has been duped of a substantial sum amounting to Rs 20.6 lakh through an online task fraud that transpired between May 2021 and December 2022. The modus operandi of the criminals involved enticing the victim with promises of a part-time job opportunity within a reputed online retail platform.
Lured into the Trap
The criminal masterminds initiated their scheme by reaching out to the assistant professor through a text message, offering him a lucrative part-time position within a prominent online retailer. Eager to explore the opportunity, the victim engaged with the fraudsters over the phone. He was then instructed to create an account and make an initial payment of Rs 1,000 for account recharge. The victim complied, and to bolster his trust, the crooks even transferred Rs 1,300 to his bank account, a tactic aimed at building credibility.
A Web of Deception Unfolds
With their target now on the hook, the criminals escalated their deception by assigning online tasks to the assistant professor while continuing to transfer small amounts to his account. These transactions were meticulously calculated to nurture the victim’s confidence. Subsequently, the fraudsters manipulated the victim into investing varying amounts into the so-called tasks, promising substantial returns.
A Costly Illusion
Unfortunately, falling further into their trap, the complainant transferred a staggering sum of Rs 20.6 lakh in multiple transactions as instructed by the fraudsters. Unbeknownst to the victim, this was an elaborate ploy to drain his finances.
The Grim Realization
Upon reviewing his job account, the assistant professor noticed records of a commission amounting to Rs 6 lakh. However, he was unable to transfer these funds to his bank account. Alarmed, he contacted the crooks, only to be told that the account had suffered damage due to uncompleted tasks within the stipulated time frame.
The Final Betrayal
In a final act of deception, the criminals persuaded the victim to deposit additional funds to supposedly repair the account. It was at this point that the victim realized he had been ensnared in a web of deceit, as the crooks persisted in their relentless money demands.
The assistant professor, a resident of Kondhwa, now finds himself grappling with a significant financial loss and the distressing realization of being a victim of an online task fraud. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance and caution while navigating the vast realm of the internet, emphasizing the need for heightened awareness regarding online scams and fraud.
Unveiling the Modus Operandi
Let’s unravel the intricacies of the elaborate scam that befell the assistant professor, exposing the crafty modus operandi utilized by the fraudsters.
1. Initial Lure and Alluring Offer
The culprits made their move by reaching out to the victim via an enticing text message, dangling the promise of a part-time job with a prominent online retail platform. This initial contact aimed to draw the victim into their deceitful web.
2. Building Trust and Roping In
Once the victim showed interest, the fraudsters escalated their ploy by engaging him over the phone. They guided him to create an account, requesting a small payment of Rs 1,000 for account recharge. To gain trust, they even added Rs 1,300 to the victim’s bank account, creating a facade of credibility.
3. Cultivating Confidence through Small Transactions
Continuing the charade, the criminals transferred minor amounts to the victim’s account, coupled with online tasks. These transactions were intended to build confidence and legitimize the entire scam.
4. Proposing Investments for False Profits
With the victim’s trust secured, the criminals enticed him further by proposing investments in these tasks, promising lucrative returns. The victim, enticed by the illusion of substantial gains, transferred a significant sum totaling Rs 20.6 lakh, falling deeper into the trap.
5. Claiming a ‘Damaged’ Account
To intensify the scam, the fraudsters fabricated a tale of the victim’s account being damaged due to alleged delays in task completion. This ploy was used to demand more funds for account ‘repairs,’ prompting additional money transfers.
6. The Grim Realization and Final Betrayal
In the end, the victim’s trust was shattered as the criminals persisted in their money demands. The assistant professor finally recognized the deception, facing a substantial financial loss. This incident serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the need for vigilance and verification before engaging in enticing online opportunities.
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