Pune: Citizens Lost Rs 18 Crore In Parcel Fraud Cases In Last 4 Months

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Pune, 6th May 2024: The Pune cyber police have delved into a staggering 88 cases of parcel fraud reported between January 1 and April 30 this year, unveiling a disturbing trend orchestrated by cybercrooks predominantly hailing from Haryana, Delhi, and Rajasthan.

These deceptive schemes have left victims reeling from collective losses amounting to a staggering Rs 18 crore, with individual sums ranging from Rs 53,000 to Rs 1.18 crore. Despite exhaustive efforts, law enforcement authorities have encountered significant hurdles in apprehending the perpetrators, primarily due to the utilization of money mule accounts for illicit money transfers.

The modus operandi adopted in these cases bears striking resemblance throughout. Perpetrators, assuming false identities as officials from agencies like the Narcotics Control Bureau or the Andheri police station in Mumbai, target victims with alarming claims. They allege the interception of parcels en route to destinations like Taiwan or Thailand, purportedly containing contraband such as mephedrone, illicit passports, and electronic devices. Instilling fear, they fabricate stories of impending arrests and demand immediate payments to ostensibly suppress the fabricated case. Bank account details are swiftly shared for the illicit transfer of funds.

In the throes of panic induced by these coercive tactics, many victims succumb to the pressure and unwittingly transfer funds. Both the Mumbai police and major global courier companies, whose identities are exploited by these fraudsters, have issued stern warnings against falling prey to such deceptive stratagems.

Shailesh Balkawade, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) in Pune, shed light on the psychological manipulation deployed by fraudsters, stating, “The fraudsters engineer a sense of urgency, leaving victims with scant opportunity to deliberate or seek assistance before succumbing to their demands. We suspect that victims are targeted indiscriminately.”

Senior Inspector Meenal Patil recounted a recent harrowing incident where a victim was coerced into an arduous 24-hour ordeal, compelled to maintain a constant presence in front of their mobile screen under the pretext of scrutiny by a purported senior police officer. Perpetrators resort to impersonating active-duty police personnel and employ virtual private networks (VPNs) to obfuscate their true locations. Authorities are actively tracing the money trail across bank accounts in Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, and other northern cities in a bid to identify and apprehend the culprits.