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IT Professional Duped of Rs 27.9 Lakh in “Drug-in-Parcel” Scam

Fraudsters Impersonating Cyber Crime Cell Officer Exploit Victim’s Fear of False Drug Charges



IT Professional Duped of Rs 27.9 Lakh in Drug-in-Parcel Scam

PUNE: A 37-year-old IT professional from Pune has fallen victim to a sophisticated online fraud, losing a staggering Rs 27.9 lakh to cybercriminals posing as Mumbai police officers. The incident, which highlights the growing threat of “drug-in-parcel” scams, underscores the importance of online vigilance and awareness.

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Modus Operandi:

On November 11th, the victim received a phone call from an individual claiming to be “Harshwardhan,” an officer from the Mumbai Cyber Crime Cell. The caller informed the victim that a parcel containing 450 grams of illegal drugs, along with his expired passport and SBI card, had been intercepted en route to Taiwan.

Panicked and fearing legal consequences, the victim provided his bank details under the guise of “verification.” Exploiting the situation, the scammers pressured the victim into transferring a total of Rs 27,98,776 across 10 online transactions to different bank accounts.

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Investigation and Aftermath:

Following the realization of the fraud, the victim lodged a formal complaint at the Sinhagad Road police station. Inspector Jayant Rajurkar confirmed the initiation of a probe into the incident. The police have registered a case under sections 419, 420, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the IT Act. They are currently investigating the phone number used by the fraudsters and tracing the bank accounts involved.

A Pattern of Deception:

This incident is not an isolated one. Pune police have reported a surge in “drug-in-parcel” scams in recent years, highlighting a worrying trend. Similar cases include:

  • October 2023: A 34-year-old man lost Rs 3.26 lakh to scammers posing as courier company staff and a Mumbai police officer.
  • August 2023: A 25-year-old student was duped of Rs 53 lakh by cybercriminals posing as courier executives and police officers.

These incidents emphasize the need for public awareness about such scams. People should be wary of unsolicited calls and messages claiming to be from authorities, especially when involving sensitive information like personal details and financial transactions.

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Staying Safe Online:

To protect yourself from online fraud:

  • Never share personal or financial information over unsolicited calls, messages, or emails.
  • Verify the identity of callers claiming to be from official agencies.
  • Be wary of urgent threats or legal action used as scare tactics.
  • Avoid clicking on unknown links or opening suspicious attachments.
  • Report any suspected fraud to the authorities immediately.

Remaining informed and vigilant about online threats can help prevent individuals from falling victim to such scams.

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