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Kaun Banega Lakhpati, ask scamsters

Posing as customer care executives of a telecom company, fraudsters call people on mobile phones and inform them that they've won Rs 25 lac on a popular quiz show in a bid to gain personal information and money

Phishing through emails is now passe. A new trend of fraudsters calling people on their mobile phones in an attempt to extract personal information and money, has emerged.

In what can be seen as yet another ingenious, yet misguided attempt to con unsuspecting people, scamsters are calling victims on their mobile phones posing as Vodafone executives. They inform the person that he has won Rs 25 lakh from popular quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati, and ask him for a certain sum to seal the deal.
To avoid detection, these scamsters call from what seem to be numbers from Pakistan and Somalia. Then, in a bid to gain the trust of the person, they tell them the last four digits of the victim's 19-digit SIM card, and ask them to deposit Rs 30,000 in a specific bank to complete 'formalities'. 

Last week, Riya Chakraborty (name changed) received a call at 9 pm from the number 0092-346790**** (00932 is the international code for Pakistan). The caller posed as an executive of the International Customer Care centre for Vodafone and identified himself as Aakash Verma. He congratulated Chakraborty for winning Rs 25 lakh on Kaun Banega Crorepati and asked her to deposit Rs 30,000 in one of their banks for clearance and formalities.

Verma even cited the last four digits of Chakraborty's 19-digit SIM card number correctly. "How can anyone know this? Details have been leaked," said Chakraborty. "The person on the line couldn't speak Hindi properly, but claimed to be calling from Vodafone. They also claimed that KBC selected people to win a jackpot," said Chakraborty, who was given another international number to call on. She was asked to speak to a certain Rajesh Gupta, a 'bank manager' who would provide her with details of where to deposit the money.

Instead, she called the Vodafone helpline, where she was told that the call was part of a scam, and she should contact the police immediately.

"We are studying the implications of the issue and will then take appropriate action," said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy. He advises people to lodge a complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell or the nearest police station if they receive a similar call. "The numbers do not belong to Vodafone," said a spokesperson of the telecom service provider. "Such calls are part of a larger scam to trap innocent customers. We have information about other customers too, who have been cheated in a similar manner." The spokesperson said they are looking into the matter.

The spokesperson for Kaun Banega Crorepati said that they are not conducting any such scheme, and that this was a clear case of fraud. 

 Sunday MiD DAY found that one of the fraudulent numbers catered to six different countries but was based out of New Delhi.  Cyber Crime expert Vijay Mukhi said that this was a new kind of cyber fraud that people should watch out for. "It is possible that by using the latest technologies, some people are hacking into databases and procuring mobile and SIM card numbers," he said.

What is phishing?
Phishing is a way to acquire information such as passwords and credit card details by posing to be a trustworthy source. It is usually carried out via emails that direct users to fake websites that look identical to the legitimate one.

One of the most common examples from recent time was the case of people being scammed through a fake ICICI website.

Keep a look out for these codes:
0092:
Pakistan
00252: Somalia

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