Tarannum Raza a resident of Malad got trapped in the fake Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) lottery promising a payout of Rs 25 lakh. She got duped for more than Rs 75 thousand into paying “so-called processing fees” to receive the payout.
Tarannum said, “I received an audio message recorded by a person claiming to be the member of Kaun Banega Crorepati, there was a background message of KBC. The audio was followed by the text messages stating the entire process of transferring the lottery prize money to the bank accounts of the winners. As instructed, I contacted a phone number mentioned in the text message in the belief that I would claim their prize.”
After Paytm, PhonePe, this is the latest scam that is on rising. Victims are spammed with one random audio, these WhatsApp messages from unknown numbers, most of them starting with ‘+91’, ‘+92’, ‘+944’ ISD codes from different foreign countries claiming that their mobile number has won a lottery organized by Kaun Banega Crorepati worth Rs. 25 lakhs, Rs. 30 lakhs and so on. In order to claim that lottery, they need to contact some person whose number is provided in the same WhatsApp message. For example, one victim was provided with 8112322723 and told to connect some Rana Pratap Singh.
According to the victim, she received a message on WhatsApp on 16th March featuring faces of KBC host Amitabh Bachchan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Reliance Industries Limited Chairman Mukesh Ambani and which urged them to “collect their prize urgently”.
However, the fraudulent asked Tarannum to pay a processing fee of Rs. 25,000 to ‘exchange’ her savings bank account into a current account in order to be eligible to receive the prize. She realized that she had been duped when the person asked her to pay Rs. 45,000 more instead of transferring the prize into her bank account.
Similarly, Vinaya Salgaonkar of Nalasopara also got in the same trap but she was a little hesitant to pay for the asked processed fees. The fraudsters on WhatsApp video call showed her the overloaded bags with cash on KBC sets. The fraudster told them that they need to first pay a certain refundable amount towards the processing of the lottery as well as GST, etc.
Once the victim deposits that money, they start demanding more on one pretext or another. The fraudsters insist on communicating only through WhatsApp. They encourage the victim to deposit money in various bank accounts and the entire fraud goes on for several weeks and even months for as long as they can keep inducing the victim to deposit money. Finally, when the victim starts insisting on getting the money or refuses to pay more, they stop calling him/her and change the WhatsApp numbers that were being used in the fraud.
Kai Farmer cybersecurity personnel said, “If you listen to these voices carefully you will realize they cannot even speak good Hindi, moreover they warn the person not to make noise about this amount. The voice message also threatens a person if they don’t call or connect the said amount would be sent back to Canada. One can easily make out that this is a fraud call. But the greed of getting free money or poverty and helplessness drives people towards the trap.”
Ajit Hatti, certified Cybersecurity specialist told Afternoon Voice, “If the caller insists on maintaining secrecy, it is a sign that there is something fishy about the whole thing. These people use WeTalk like mobile apps to connect people, this app provides anonymous and untraceable numbers to reach the victim. Such apps are banned by the Government of India, but there are many apps openly available and these frauds exploit your greed. You forget to take basic precautions such as discussing with family members, verifying the information through alternate means, etc., as you get blinded by your self-indulgence.”