Conmen impersonate Army officers, cheat house owners
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Conmen impersonate Army officers, cheat house owners

March 3, 2022

City Police ask public to share info on duping cases on its Facebook page; bring out short movie, song

Mysore/Mysuru: The Cybercrime, Economic Offences and Narcotics (CEN) Police have been grappling with a new trend of fraud: People misrepresenting themselves as Indian Army and Defence personnel, exploiting the goodwill associated with the Armed Forces to cheat landlords and flat owners of their money through advertisements placed on popular online marketing websites.

The landlords had posted ‘house for rent’ ads on these marketplaces and they were tricked into parting with their money.

These scamsters identified themselves as Defence personnel to gain a potential victim’s trust. They come on phone calls communicating with their target and share what they claim to be their Army (or any other Defence Force) ID cards, bearing pictures of them in uniform.

Mahesh, a resident of Gayatripuram in city, who owns a house, had placed an ad in a web portal offering real estate services. He got a call and the person on the other side introduced himself as Army man from Punjab. He told Mahesh that he is at present stationed at Gurugram and has been transferred to Mysuru.

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He told Mahesh that he would need his house on rent for a couple of months and agreed for the deal to pay Rs. 4,500 as rent and Rs. 30,000 as a security deposit. Speaking in Hindi, the conman told Mahesh that his senior would call regarding the payment of the deposit.

The person on the other side then handed over the phone to another person who told Mahesh that the rent and the deposit would be paid from the Army Regiment. An unsuspecting Mahesh was asked to pay Re. 1 through UPI and the conman repaid Rs. 2 just to confirm the payment gateway.

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Payment technicality

Meanwhile, as the trap was set, Mahesh was told to pay Rs. 30,000 to the Army Regiment so that Rs. 60,000 could be paid back.

The conmen told Mahesh that there was a payment technicality that required the payment of Rs. 30,000 so that Rs. 60,000 could be re-deposited. Trusting them, Mahesh transferred Rs. 30,000.

Soon after the transfer, the conman again called Mahesh and told him that due to a glitch and a technicality, Rs. 60,000 was needed from Mahesh’s side so that Rs. 90,000 can be credited back to Mahesh’s account. Meanwhile, the fraudsters had already withdrawn the Rs. 30,000 paid by Mahesh earlier.

Mahesh sensed something was wrong and decided not to pay another Rs. 60,000 as demanded.

He then approached the bank where he was informed that Rs. 30,000 was withdrawn. He later approached the CEN Police on Feb. 2.

Mahesh told the Police that the callers identified themselves as Preetham and Rahul Sharma.

In 2021, between January and December, 14 cases of people impersonating Army men and cheating people have been reported and in 2022, a couple of similar cases have been reported, said the Police.

Using a similar modus operandi, one Sohanlal Jain of Nimishamba Layout was cheated of Rs. 3,99,994 by a fraudster who posed as a Defence person who needed house on rent as he has been transferred to Mysuru. The conman convinced the victim to part with the money promising him to double the amount directly from the Defence unit. This incident occurred on Jan. 27 this year. One Syed Naved Ahmed of Bannaimantap was cheated of Rs. 1 lakh and Naved had advertised in an online marketplace that his house was available for rent. The fraudster promised Naved that Rs. 2 lakh will be credited from Army unit. To support his fake ID, the conman presented screenshots, fake ID cards, Aadhaar Card and other documents.

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Similarly, Preetham Prasad was conned of Rs. 8,500 by a person posing as Army officer who wanted to buy old furniture, Rajanna Hegde of Alanahalli was cheated of Rs. 25,000 after a fraudster promised to buy a double cot for Rs. 25,000. In the same way, Varshini who sells sarees from home was cheated of Rs. 7,300 and Uma of J.P. Nagar was conned of Rs. 50,000 after fraudsters posed as a CISF personnel who wanted to take her house on rent.

Share cases of cheating on Facebook

The Police have warned flat and house owners to watch out before initiating a transaction and have urged them to try their best to check the credentials of those who approach them for renting apartments and houses.

City Police Commissioner Dr. Chandragupta and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Pradeep Gunti has urged the people to report any case of online fraud to Cybercrime, Economic Offences and Narcotics (CEN) Police or even post on the Cyber Crime Facebook page how they have been cheated online. Victims can visit the page using this link: https://www.facebook.com/Cyber-crime-police-station-ಮೈಸೂರು-ನಗರ-110644808223918/

Also, to bring in more awareness on online frauds, the City Police is coming up with a short movie and a song. They will be released shortly to the public domain by the Police Commissioner.

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