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Chandigarh: Cons posing as cops threaten victims with cases of money laundering

Elderly woman duped of Rs 72L by fraudster claiming to be CBI officer recently

Chandigarh: Cons posing as cops threaten victims with cases of money laundering


Tribune News Service

Amit Sharma

Chandigarh, July 8

Fraudsters have developed a new modus operandi for cheating people. They pose as law enforcement officers to intimidate their targets with allegations of money laundering and coercing them into transferring large sums of money under the guise of an investigation. In a recent incident, a 75-year-old woman was swindled out of Rs 72 lakh by a fraudster pretending to be a CBI officer.

Victim Veena Chechi, a resident of Sector 48 here, received a call from an unknown person posing as a CBI officer. The suspect informed her that a bank account had been opened in her name in Mumbai and was being used for money laundering activities.

Precautionary tips

  • Never share your personal or financial information over the phone
  • Always verify the identity of the caller posing as a cop or government official
  • Never transfer money on the directions of some unknown caller

Call 1930 to report online financial fraud

The suspect claimed that the victim’s name had cropped up in the probe related to money laundering allegedly involving Jet Airway’s founder Naresh Goyal, who had been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) recently. “The suspect told me that 247 ATM cards had been seized from Goyal’s house, including the ATM card of my bank account,” Veena said.

Despite her insistence that she had no bank account in Mumbai, the suspect gathered her personal information, including her Aadhar card and bank account details. “The suspect told me that this was a secret investigation and I couldn’t reveal it to anyone, not even my family. He intimidated me with dire consequences if I didn’t cooperate with the investigating agencies,” she added.

To make the story more convincing, the suspect sent her a fake arrest warrant issued by the ED and documents related to Goyal’s money laundering case. “I informed the accused that I had no role in this case, but he asked me to transfer all money from my bank account for investigation, promising it would be returned after a week,” she said.

Veena was also warned that if she leaked information about the investigation, her family could be harmed. She kept this to herself, went to the bank and transferred the money through cheques. “I issued four cheques for Rs 55 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, Rs 4 lakh and Rs 3 lakh. The money was transferred to two bank accounts provided by the suspect,” she said.

Interestingly, the suspect asked Veena to remain on the phone with him so that he could know what’s happening at the bank. Even when the victim disconnected the calls, the suspect repeatedly called her and kept giving her directions.

“The bank employees initially got suspicious and asked me about the transfers, but I didn’t share any information with them, assuming that it might lead to some problem,” she added.

After a week passed without the money being returned, Veena realised it was a scam. “I lost all my life’s savings to the fraud,” she lamented. The police were informed about the incident and an investigation had been initiated by the cyber crime police station.

This is the second such incident after a woman residing in Sector 11 here was duped of Rs 80 lakh in a similar manner.

A police official said this was a new trend adopted by the fraudsters to target gullible people, especially senior citizens. “We hold awareness drives to inform people about the new methods adopted by swindlers,” an official added.

‘Digital arrest’

This modus operandi is known as 'digital arrest'. This is basically a fraud in which cybercriminals impersonate as law enforcement officers and falsely accuse the victim of criminal activities and demand money to avoid arrest. In some instances, the victims are forced into staying online on video conferencing or call until their demands are fulfilled.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Central Bureau of Investigation CBI


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