More than 50 people from Coimbatore have become victims of a fast spreading scam wherein unknown persons offer online part time job-cum-investment options. The cybercrime police said that educated people, job seekers and even senior citizens have fallen prey to the scam, all because of greed to make a quick buck.
The latest victim to the scam is a 27-year-old youth from Rathinapuri. He got a part time job offer from an unknown person through WhatsApp in June. As per the FIR, the man took up the job and took up small tasks for meager commission. Later, his handler asked him to invest money for which he was offered a higher rate of commission. For an investment of ₹ 7,000, he was paid ₹9,890. Trusting the handler, the youth invested a total of ₹ 9.20 lakh and lost the entire amount.
According to the police, there had been cases in which the complainants were paid upto ₹ 1 lakh for their investment. However, none of the victims stopped at that stage but continued to invest more expecting higher returns. Majority of the victims have lost close to ₹ 10 lakh and more. “Once a person takes up the part time job and falls into the trap, the handler adds him to a WhatsApp or Telegram group.
The group may have different profiles used by the handler or of his associates that are shown as other investors. The handler or his associates will post fake messages about investments and their gains that the new members believe are messages posted by other investors. New members of the group easily believe that these are all original investments and the commission paid for them,” cybercrime inspector P.A. Arun explained the modus operandi.
Normally, handlers prompt the victims to invest the highest amount before disappearing. Victims realise the cheating only after a few days when they find that all contacts are cut. The cash defrauded from victims would have been transferred into multiple bank accounts or withdrawn by the fraudsters before a complaint is lodged with the police. “It is a tough task to retrieve the defrauded amount. Once a case is registered, the police make a request to the bank through the court to freeze the particular bank account or multiple accounts. The bank after verifying the transactions transfer the amount to the court which is later paid to the victims through DD,” said Mr. Arun.
The cybercrime police have managed to obtain orders to freeze more than 30 bank accounts so far. People who lose their money through online scams have been advised to report such incidents immediately to the number 1930 or via www.cybercrime.gov.in.
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