Deepak Thakkar, the 69-year-old Matunga resident, had lost all hopes of getting back Rs1.9 lakh, which he lost to cyber cons in 2022. However, he was amazed when the cops succeeded in recovering Rs80,000 and returning the same to him. The process to recover Rs10,000 more is underway.
Details of the scam
Thakkar was duped when a con impersonated a State Bank of India official and told him over call that his KYC needed to be updated. After slyly taking the one-time password from the senior citizen, the scammer performed unauthorised transactions. However, Thakkar and his son approached the police after a long gap of 15-20 days.
"At that time, it was too late, way past the golden hour. There was no point in freezing the transaction as it had moved from one account to another," said Inspector Keshav Wagh, who is investigating the case. In December 2023, the cop reopened the old file and found a number – 6204189969 – that was procured by the police in 2022.
Simple web search led to first breakthrough
Interestingly, a simple web search led to the first breakthrough. “The number was found in a news article in Kannada. When we translated the piece, we came to know that a doctor in Karnataka had lost Rs65,000 in a similar fraud,” said Wagh. In the next step, the cyber cell was roped in to dig out the number’s call data records, which ascertained that it was active in three locations – Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
The police again obtained Thakkar's bank transaction details dating back to the time when the fraud occurred. The information showed that the money was moved to MobiKwik, a mobile payment service provider. “We contacted MobiKwik and learned that the amount was moved to AeronPay,” said Wagh, adding that curiously Rs79,999 was still in the money trail; meaning the fraudster hadn't withdrawn or transferred it. “We asked the nodal officer of AeronPay to freeze the money and transfer it back, and that happened,” the cop said, adding that another Rs10,000 was also found in the money trail, which will be recovered soon.
The remaining amount of Rs1 lakh was transferred to a bank account somewhere in Rajasthan, which is yet to be traced. “In cases like these, the account owner is usually just a dummy, who has no idea of transactions made from the account. It looks the same in this case. We have made some progress and the fraudster will be arrested soon,” concluded Wagh.
If police sources are to be believed, Thakkar and his son were so delighted to get some of their money back that they gifted a water dispenser to the police station.
FPJ Cyber Secure |