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Mumbai Cyber Cell Sounds Alarm: Beware of Fake Cops on Telegram Video Calls

Cyber criminals impersonating police stations on Telegram trick victims into extorting money. Mumbai Police warns citizens to stay vigilant.



Mumbai Cyber Cell Sounds Alarm: Beware of Fake Cops on Telegram Video Calls

MUMBAI: In a chilling new cybercrime trend, scammers are impersonating police officers using fake Telegram channels and video calls to extort money from unsuspecting victims. The Mumbai Police cyber cell has identified this modus operandi and issued a warning, urging people to be wary of such calls and online solicitations.

The Old Bait Switched: Traditionally, cybercriminals have posed as customs officials to dupe victims into believing they have received illegal packages. However, this new twist involves creating Telegram channels in the names of actual police stations, adding an air of legitimacy to their charade.

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Case in Point: A recent case exemplifies this tactic. A 70-year-old businessman from Mumbai received a call from someone claiming to be an officer from Lucknow customs. The caller falsely accused him of receiving a parcel containing contraband and instructed him to appear at the Gomti Nagar police station in Lucknow.

Building Trust Through Technology: When the businessman refused to comply, the scammers transferred the call to another person posing as a Gomti Nagar police officer. This individual, identifying himself as Dinesh Kumar, suggested recording the victim’s statement through a Telegram video call. To further win his trust, the scammer used a Telegram ID named “Lucknow Police, Gomti Nagar Police Station” for the video call, showcasing a fake police officer in uniform.

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Fear Mongering and Extortion: After gaining the victim’s trust, the scammers bombarded him with false accusations of money laundering and CBI investigation. They even displayed a fake CBI letter and threatened him with arrest and imprisonment. Panicked, the businessman disclosed his bank account details, leading to a Rs 3.5 lakh transfer to the scammers’ account.

Fake Documents and False Hope: As a final act of deception, the scammers sent the victim a forged “Notarised Supervision Acknowledgment,” falsely claiming it was an anticipatory bail document. Only after informing his family and subsequently approaching the Marine Drive police did the businessman realize he had been duped.

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Cyber Cell Issues Warning: Mumbai Police’s cyber cell has registered a case against the scammers under charges of cheating, forgery, and violation of the IT Act. They have also issued a public advisory, urging people to be cautious of unsolicited calls and video calls, especially from unknown numbers or online platforms.

Key Takeaways:

  • Beware of calls or messages from unknown numbers impersonating police officers or customs officials.
  • Do not download or install any applications at the behest of unknown callers.
  • Never disclose personal or financial information over phone calls or video chats.
  • Verify the sender’s identity through official channels before responding to any online solicitations.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the cyber cell or the nearest police station.

By staying vigilant and informed, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these cunning cyber scams. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t let fear or pressure cloud your judgment; always err on the side of caution when dealing with online interactions.

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