In separate incidents this month, three people in Mumbai fell prey to fake electricity bill messages sent by cyber-fraudsters informing them that they had failed to pay their bills on time and were duped of a total of Rs 3.80 lakh. Impersonating power supply company executives, the fraudsters tricked the three victims into revealing their bank details and used these to transfer money from their bank accounts.
In the first case, a 60-year-old man registered a first information report (FIR) at Meghwadi police station in Jogeshwari on August 12. According to the FIR, on August 5, the man received a message, purportedly from Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited informing him that he had not paid last month’s power bill and his connection would be disconnected. The man allegedly called on the number and was asked to install Anydesk app from Google Play Store. The fraudster asked the senior citizen to make a payment of Rs 100, which he did using his ATM card, the FIR said. The fraudster then used the card details to transfer Rs 2 lakh from the senior citizen’s account to his account, the FIR said.
In the second case, an FIR was registered at Bandra police station on August 13 on a complaint from a 65-year-old homemaker. She told the police that she stays with her husband, a businessman, and their children stay abroad.
According to the FIR, on August 11, the woman received a message that she had not paid her electricity bill and was asked to call on a number given in the message. When she said that she had paid the electricity bill, the fraudster impersonating an executive from the electricity department said her payment was not updated in their system. He then allegedly made her install an app that gave him remote access to her phone.
He then asked her to make a payment of Re 1 from her credit card, which she did, the FIR said. The fraudster then used her personal bank details, generated an OTP, and used this to transfer Rs 1 lakh from her account to his account, the woman told the police.
In the last case, an FIR was registered by the Malad police on August 15 after a 49-year-old woman who runs a beauty parlour lodged a complaint. On August 15, the woman said, she received a message purportedly sent by Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited and was conned in the exact same manner as the senior citizen from Meghwadi.
The fraudster allegedly even asked the woman to use other ATM cards but she denied. He then asked her to cut the phone and check her messages, she told the police. When she checked her messages, she realised Rs 80,000 had been transferred from her account, the FIR says.
In all three instances, the police lodged cases under sections 419 (impersonation) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 66 C (identity theft) and 66 D (impersonation using computer resource) of the IT Act.