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Getting calls for free mobile recharge? You may get conned

If you get a call from a mobile company stating that you won a free recharge, it may be too good to be true. A Bandra-based businessman, who incidentally also sells mobile recharge from his garment shop, was swindled by a caller posing as a representative of a mobile service company, who asked him to call a number to get a free recharge worth Rs 5,000. As the businessman called on the number, the Rs 1,333 credit on his phone was fraudulently transmitted to two numbers from Jharkhand. The man has now approached the Cyber Crime Cell of Mumbai police.

Sanjay Makhija was duped of Rs 1,400 by a caller posing to be a phone company executive.
Called and conned: Sanjay Makhija was duped of Rs 1,400 by a caller posing to be a phone company executive. Pic/Shadab Khan

 “Though the amount is not much of a loss, I just want to make other people aware so that they are not cheated in a similar way. It is hard to believe that someone could actually hack into your phone and siphon all the recharge balance,” said the complainant Sanjay Makhija, a resident of Khar (West) who owns a readymade garment shop in Bandra (West).

The con job
According to Makhija, on Wednesday evening while he was in the shop he received a call on one of the demo phone numbers from which he recharges his customers’ phones. The person said he was an executive manager and Makhija’s number had been selected for a bonus reward. The executive said he had to send recharge amounts from his mobile to get a reward of Rs 5,000. Makhija said he was talking on the same number and therefore asked the executive to call on his landline number.

“He called my landline number and asked me how much balance I had in my mobile. I told him that I had Rs 1,339. He gave me one number and asked me to recharge an amount of Rs 1,000 on it. As he said he was from the service provider and I was also going to get a reward, I did so.”

Later, the executive asked for one more recharge of Rs 333 to another number and Makhija did so. The executive then asked him put more balance in his demo mobile for recharge.

Makhija then called his distributor for more balance and got it done. Interestingly, the executive was on the line with Makhija all the while. Makhija asked the executive to send his reward on his mobile but the executive said if he sent more money, he would be rewarded Rs 20,000. Smelling a rat, Makhija called the distributor and explained the situation, which informed him that he was being conned, and he should cancel the call immediately.

“I asked the executive about his verification and my reward, and I guess he felt that I had caught on, so he hung up,” said Makhija. “I kept calling the number but it was a false Internet number. I then called the numbers to which I sent the recharge and I was shocked when I realised they all were of Jharkhand state. I then called the service provider who said nothing could be done as the recharge was made outside the state.”

Makhija approached the local police station with a complaint (copy with MiD DAY), which then directed him to the Cyber Crime unit of Mumbai police. He said that no one else should be conned in a similar manner, and that he believed some insider of the service provider must have given the information about his demo mobile number. 

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