An elderly woman and two young men – one working as a banker and the other a graduate in Mumbai – fell for cyber fraud and were collectively tricked out of Rs 22.13 lakh after clicking on alleged recruitment links on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, respectively.
One of the victims, a 28-year-old business postgraduate student who is currently unemployed and his father’s pension is the only source of income, told police that around 10.30 a.m. on October 31 he received a message WhatsApp. from an unknown number.
The message read: “Time is a bird always in flight. Your offer has been sent, please click… to verify. The complainant replied to the message asking for more details.
The scammer responded to the complainant’s message by saying, “Hi, nice to meet you, we are recruiting for online stores around the world. Are you here to learn how to make easy money online? Our platform is primarily intended to help Amazon merchants verify product sales and earn part-time commissions.
The plaintiff was asked to send Rs 100 and some time later received Rs 228. He then sent another Rs 500 through the UPI transaction and some time later received Rs 959. He then received a message from the fraudster stating that it had been registered with their company and another message. which read: “Dear friends, you add the telegram of our professional tutor, the tutor will guide you all the way to complete the task and earn a generous commission. Telegram address…”
The complainant then created a Telegram account and received a message: “Hello! This is mall task center, please provide member name of your mall account” Complainant fell into the trap and ended up investing Rs 4.38 lakh in 10 trades thinking he would receive a heavy commission.
He finally realized he was cheated and approached Bandra Police Station and registered an FIR on 1 November.
In another case, a 28-year-old deputy bank manager in Mumbai fell prey to cyber fraud and lost Rs 2.53 lakh. An FIR was registered by the Navghar police station on 1 November. On October 23, the complainant saw an advertisement on his Instagram account. The advertisement read: “Hello, we are… an investment company in partnership with Amazon. Urgent recruitment of part-time/full-time employees, with daily salary around Rs 1,000-8,000.
The complainant clicked on the link and received a WhatsApp message on his phone. The message asked the complainant to open a “business account” after clicking on the link provided. After the bank manager created a business account, he received another message asking him to join a Telegram account to receive tasks.
After creating the Telegram account, he received another message that said: “You are welcome, I will now attract you to our task launcher group, the task launcher group will randomly update the lucky tasks, and lucky tasks will get higher rewards.”
After paying a certain amount and completing the first task, the complainant received another message that read, “Now please choose to complete your second task based on the actual situation. The personnel department will approve your job application and immediately reimburse your earnings for the day. A regular employee will get more than 3888 rupees of commission sent to your account every day and you can repeat the same task.
In a somewhat similar case, a 57-year-old woman from Maharashtra lost Rs 15.22 lakh after clicking on a “work from home” advertisement link on Facebook. An FIR was filed at Dombivali Police Station in Thane District on October 31 and the woman told police she had been asked to buy products from Amazon and promised a 40% commission on her investment .
The complainant told police she was browsing her Facebook account on September 18 when she came across the “work from home” ad.
When she clicked on the link, she was redirected to a woman’s WhatsApp number. The woman identified herself as Maria De Leon and gave the complainant another number saying it was her eldest’s phone number. When the complainant contacted the second mobile number, someone identified themselves as Tain Lojoro and offered her a part-time job.
As part of her job, she had to buy Amazon products for which she was promised a 40% commission, the complainant told police. The woman ended up spending Rs 15.22 lakh in the month of September. Later, the scammers asked her to pay Rs 3 lakh which she refused. The complainant initially tried to contact the fraudsters for a few days hoping that they would return the money to him, but he eventually approached the police.