Wednesday, February 28, 2024

    Pune: Alert Issued as Cyber Criminals Exploit Army Impersonation to Target Citizens


    Pune, 27th June 2023: The city of Pune has recently experienced a surge in cybercrime cases involving criminals posing as Army personnel to defraud unsuspecting citizens, with a particular focus on vulnerable individuals such as women and senior citizens. This concerning trend has prompted the police to issue a cautionary appeal, urging the public to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions against these deceptive tactics. The cyber police department has already received around 200 complaints related to scams carried out by these fake Army personnel.

    According to the cyber police, the criminals establish contact with individuals by posting fraudulent advertisements on various online marketing platforms and real estate websites, disguising themselves as Army officers. They use photo manipulation techniques to create counterfeit identification documents, including fake ID cards, badge numbers, battalion names, place of posting, and images of Army uniforms, all intended to gain the trust of their victims.

    In a recent incident, a 69-year-old man became a victim of a fraudulent Army impersonator, resulting in a loss of Rs 1 lakh through online transactions. The case was registered at the Yerwada police station four days ago. The victim, Sarabjit Singh, a resident of Nagpur Chawl in Yerwada, shared his ordeal, explaining how the fraudster posed as an Army officer looking to rent a room.

    Singh recalled, “I had posted pictures of our house in Yerwada on multiple platforms for the purpose of renting a room. On June 22, I received a call from the scammer, who identified himself as Manohar Singh, claiming to be an Indian Army officer. After gaining my trust, he asked for details on where to send the deposit money. He then suggested using GPay for the transaction, knowing that I was unfamiliar with online transactions.”

    He continued, “The fraudster guided me through the process, and unknowingly, I transferred money to his account in six transactions of Rs 20,000 each and two transactions of Rs 19,000 each. It was only when I received SMS notifications from my bank regarding the debited amounts that I realized I had been swindled.”

    The Pune Cyber Police Station has confirmed the rising prevalence of cyber criminals impersonating Army personnel in the city and has warned the public about their deceptive methods. Investigations are currently underway into several similar cases.

    Modus Operandi

    The police have identified that fraudsters exploit the public’s respect for the Army and their trust in the integrity of its personnel, viewing it as a lucrative opportunity. They assume the identities of Army personnel on various online platforms by using forged Army identity cards, including canteen cards, batch numbers, and designations. These imposters share counterfeit ID cards and photographs of themselves wearing Army uniforms on social media platforms, ultimately siphoning funds from the bank accounts of unsuspecting victims.

    Inspector Chandra Shekhar Sawant from the Cyber Police Station emphasized the importance of promptly reporting such incidents to enhance the chances of recovering the stolen money. If victims approach the police or a nearby police station within 12 hours of the fraud, there is a higher likelihood of restitution. On the other hand, delays of two to three days provide fraudsters ample time to transfer the funds between accounts, making it more challenging to track and retrieve the money.

    “This process is time-consuming. We need to obtain court orders and provide the FIR copy to the relevant bank. Only after a thorough investigation and confirmation of the fraudulent nature of the transfer will the banks freeze the funds, a procedure that takes at least one to two months,” explained the officer.

    It is crucial for citizens to exercise caution while interacting with unknown individuals online, especially those claiming to be Army personnel. Verifying the authenticity of individuals and transactions, refraining from sharing personal and financial information, and promptly reporting any suspicious activities to the authorities can go a long way in preventing such fraudulent incidents. The police continue to work diligently to identify and apprehend these cyber criminals, and cooperation from the public is vital in combating this growing threat.

    Neha Raj
    Neha uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though her specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.



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