Updated: November 24, 2020 11:20:38 am
Two housewives in Ratnagiri town fell for the fake Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) lottery promising a payout of Rs 25 lakh last week. They lost more than Rs 5 lakh after being duped into paying “processing fees” to receive the payout.
Both Kaiserbanu Kazi (43) and Rehana Bhatkar (35) received a message on WhatsApp on November 11 featuring faces of KBC host Amitabh Bachchan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Reliance Industries Limited Chairman Mukesh Ambani and which urged them to “collect their prize urgently”. The text messages were accompanied by an audio message recorded by a person claiming to be the manager of a State Bank of India branch in Mumbai and responsible for transferring the lottery prize money to bank accounts of the winners. The following day, both women contacted a phone number mentioned in the text message in the belief that they would claim their prize.
However, the fraudulent bank manager asked Bhatkar to pay a processing fee of Rs 25,000 and Rs 12,300 to “convert” her savings bank account into a current account in order to be eligible to receive the prize. Bhatkar realised that she had been duped when the manager asked her to pay Rs 45,000 more instead of transferring the prize into her bank account.
Kazi ended up paying a total of Rs 5 lakh to a different set of fraudsters towards “processing fees”, “currency conversion”, “bank account conversion”, “GST” and even a commission to avoid an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Both women registered FIRs last week, naming three people as accused in their complaints – a bank manager, the holders of bank accounts to whom they were instructed to transfer the money.
Inspector Anil Lad of Ratnagiri City police station said that his officers were in the process of identifying the fraudsters. “The accused are not local people. We are trying to locate them,” he said.
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