Kollam native loses over ₹40 lakh to fraudsters who posed as Mumbai Police officials

A phone call disguised as a courier company alleged that a parcel sent by the victim from Mumbai to Thailand was seized by Mumbai Police.


Published Feb 23, 2024 | 7:05 PM Updated Feb 23, 2024 | 7:06 PM

The accused had been cheating vehicle-owners across Karnataka. (Creative Commons)

A resident of Kerala’s Kollam district fell victim to an elaborate extortion scheme, whereby fraudsters posing as officers of the Mumbai Police Cyber Wing coerced him into parting with more than ₹40 lakh of his money.

The Kerala Police said the fraudulent scheme began with a phone call from a purported customer service representative of a renowned courier company, who alleged that a parcel sent by the victim from Mumbai to Thailand had been seized by Mumbai Police.

The caller claimed that the parcel contained illicit substances, including MDMA, alongside the victim’s personal belongings such as passport, credit card, and laptop.

Under the guise of rectifying the situation, the caller connected the victim to persons posing as senior police officers from the Cybercrime Cell of Mumbai Police.

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The scam

These scammers skillfully manipulated the victim by claiming that accounts linked to terrorist activities had been created using the victim’s Aadhaar number, instilling fear in his mind, a statement issued by Kerala Police said.

The perpetrators went to great lengths to deceive the victim, instructing him to install Skype for further communication and coercing him into divulging sensitive financial information, including details of his bank account and savings.

In a distressing turn of events, the victim succumbed to pressure and transferred a staggering sum of ₹40,30,000 to an account provided by the fraudsters, only to realise later that he had fallen prey to an online scam.

Kollam East Police have initiated an investigation into the incident, police said.

The state police headquarters urged victims of online financial fraud to report such crimes within the “Golden Hour” (within one hour of the incident) to maximise the chances of recovering lost money.

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