Cyber Fraud: National award winner duped of Rs 6 lakh by an imposter

A Bollywood sound designer from Juhu, Hitendra Ghosh, 69, was duped to the tune of Rs 6 lakh by a fraudster who posed as a customer care agent and asked Ghosh to download an application from the playstore. While police have booked the unidentified accused under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act for cheating, impersonation, a probe is underway.

Ghosh, winner of the National Film Award for Best Audiography in 1978 for Junoon, lost Rs 5,99,994 in the cyber fraud. During the lockdown, Ghosh had wanted to transfer money from one account to another, but was unable to personally go to the bank to do so because of his age and the restrictions on public movement by authorities.

In a bid to avail internet banking service, Ghosh tried to contact the bank's customer care number, but could not get through. He then searched for a number on the internet and found an old number on July 7, which he called. The responder introduced himself as 'Rahul Kumar', the bank's customer care agent. Kumar acquired all details of the accounts to which Ghosh wanted to wire money and asked for the latter's debit card CVV number. However, Ghosh refused to share this information.

Police said Kumar then made another attempt to dupe Ghosh and asked him to download a mobile application 'Any Desk' from the Google PlayStore on his smartphone, which the complainant did. After downloading the application, Kumar acquired a number from Ghosh, which gave him access to the latter's phone, following which the complainant lost almost Rs 8 lakh in a series of eight transactions of Rs 99,999.

It was then that Ghosh realised he had been duped by Kumar and he immediately approached the bank, sought a statement while informing them about the fraud. The bank managed to recover Rs 2 lakh of his money, while efforts to recover the rest is underway. Ghosh also went to Juhu Police and lodged a complaint, after which the police have sought the Call Data Records (CDR) of the accused and have written to the bank, said an officer.

In case you are a victim of cyber fraud:

▪︎Immediately alert the local police station or call the 24x7 Cyber Helpline-- 9820810007 set up to prevent and tackle Cyber Crime.

▪︎For bank frauds, immediately alert the concerned bank, block the card and fill a dispute form. If a fraud is reported within 24 hours of crime, it becomes the responsibility of the concerned stakeholder to recover the money.

▪︎Never share your bank details, debit/credit card number, and One Time Password (OTP).

While alerting bank, keep following documents handy --

•Bank statement of the last six months 

•A copy of SMSs received related to the alleged transactions

•Identity and address proof as shown in the bank records

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