A 40-year-old software engineer has been conned out of up to 75,000 rupees by an internet scammer who pretended to be the wife of an Indian army colonel planning to move to Pune, under the pretense of renting out his property in the city.

The first information report on the case was recorded at Hinjewadi Police Station on Thursday by the software engineer, who lives in a suburb of Pune and works for an IT solutions company in the city. The officials said that the complainant owned another apartment in a different part of the city that he had advertised on a well-known real estate portal.

On 14 May, the complainant received a phone call from a woman who identified herself as the wife of an on-duty army colonel. She tells him that her husband has been transferred to Pune and they are looking for rented accommodation. She said they liked his apartment and were interested in renting it. The complainant and the caller finalized the matter with a deposit of Rs 25,000 and a monthly rent of Rs 13,000.

At this point, the officials said, the caller asked the complainant to use a digital payment service app. The caller on the pretense of making him use some of the app’s features asked him to fill in bank account details and fill in an amount of Rs 25,000. The complainant trusted her as she asked when Rs 25,000 was debited from his account.

The woman said there was confusion in filling in the details and asked him to do the same transaction again for Rs 50,000. After which 50,000 rupees were debited from his account. At this point he realizes he has been cheated.

He had recently contacted the police after which an FIR was registered with charges of fraud and criminal breach of trust. Assistant Inspector Ganesh Karg said, “The complainant lost money in two transactions as he filled in the details in the app without asking what she was asking. We have launched an investigation into the cell phone number and bank account used by the cyber-fraudsters.”

Officials said that cases of fraud through online property dealings and marketplace platforms by online scammers posing as military personnel and officers have been reported in large numbers in the recent past. In the first week of May, a unit of cybercriminals – who were cheating citizens across the country disguised as army officers – were captured in a joint operation by the Military Intelligence (MI) unit of the Southern Command which is based in Poona. Police forces from multiple countries.

Investigation revealed that to avoid arrest by police from different states, these criminals operate from Bharatpur-Mewat district which is on the borders of multiple countries to create complexities in the jurisdiction of the crime and also use multiple SIM cards, cell phones and bank accounts.


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