THE MUMBAI Police is trying to trace a fraudster who has been allegedly cheating people across the country using a particular mobile phone number. The mobile phone number was most recently used to cheat a 21-year-old Andheri-based student, who called up the number assuming it to be the customer service number for BHIM app and ended up losing money.
The Versova police, who registered an FIR in the case, found that the fraudster would put up the number – XXXXX23614 – online as the customer service number for various services and use it to cheat people.
An officer investigating the case said that the complainant, Anil Chaturvedi, who hails from Gujarat, had moved to the city a few years back.
He used the BHIM app to send and receive money from his parents.
Last week, Chaturvedi made a payment of Rs 10,000 to his uncle using the app. His uncle, however, did not receive the payment.
In his statement to the police, Chaturvedi said, “I tried calling up the customer service number; however, I could not get through. The next day, while searching online, I found a number listed as the customer service number on a website. When I called up the number, the person on the other side confirmed that it was the customer service number for the portal and asked me the reason for the call.”
When Chaturvedi informed the person on the other end about Rs 10,000 not being credited to his uncle’s account, the fraudster said he could help.
“The caller told Chaturvedi that he would receive a notification on his phone which he should accept. The caller sent four notifications which Chaturvedi accepted as per instruction. He was assured it was a technical issue and his uncle would soon receive the payment. But Chaturvedi found that a total of Rs 40,000 more had been debited from his account. He realised that he had been cheated and approached us,” an officer said.
During investigation, the police found that the fraudster had in the past mentioned the same number, XXXXX23614, as the customer service number for a major shopping portal and a mobile network service provider, among others. Versova senior inspector R Badgujar said, “We have registered an FIR in the case. We should be able to arrest the fraudster soon.”
A senior officer said, “Normally, when a customer does not get through a customer service number or if it is busy, they check if there are other numbers online. The fraudsters either create fraudulent websites looking similar to the original website and upload the number or mention it in the comments sections. Those who end up calling these numbers are cheated by the fraudsters. The callers are all the more gullible as it is them who have called up the number.”