'Your Parcel Has Drugs': How Actor Anjali Patil Fell Prey to Courier Scam | Explained
'Your Parcel Has Drugs': How Actor Anjali Patil Fell Prey to Courier Scam | Explained
Anjali received a call from one Deepak Sharma who identified himself as an employee of DebEx Courier Company and said that a parcel with her name had drugs on it

Bollywood actor Anjali Patil, who acted in films like Rajinikanth’s ‘Kaala’, ‘Mirzya’ and ‘Newton’, was duped of Rs 5.79 lakh after she fell prey to ‘Drugs in parcel’ fraud.

The scamster first posing as a courier staff and later as a Mumbai police official claimed that drugs has been found in the parcel with the actor’s name in Taiwan. In order to get her name cleared and avoid proceedings, the fraudsters end up taking more than 5 lakhs in two separate payments from the Anjali.

How Was Anjali Patil Duped?

Anjali, a resident of Mumbai’s Andheri, received a call from one Deepak Sharma who identified himself as an employee of DebEx Courier Company and said that a parcel with her name had drugs on it, according to the FIR.

The parcel, heading to Taiwan, was seized by the customs department with her Aadhaar card, the fraudster told Anjali. He further informed her that it was a matter of identity theft and asked her to go to Mumbai Cyber Police.

Anjali received a Skype call from one Banerjee, who claimed to be an officer with the Mumbai cyber police. Banerjee informed Anjali that her Aadhaar card was linked to three bank accounts which were involved in a money laundering case.

He then demanded Rs 96,525 from Anjali to verify her bank account with the finance department and resolve the matter. After Anjali transferred the money, she was informed by Banerjee that it was a well-organised crime involving her bank officials and he further demanded Rs 4,83,291 from her for further verification and to help her in getting her name cleared.

She deposited the amount in order to close the case and avoid police proceeding. But few days later, she realised that she had fallen for the viral scam when she was talking to her landlord.

How Does the ‘Drugs in Parcel’ Fraud Work?

The ‘drugs in parcel’ fraud or commonly known as courier scam is on rise across states and reported in metro cities. In the scam, the courier scammers claim to be customs officials or executives of an international courier company and later as senior police officers and contact their targets over the phone.

They can also pretend to be serving IPS officers, cyber crime cells, anti-narcotics cell, CBI, Enforcement Directorate or RBI officials.

They tell the victims that a parcel booked in their name and sent to places like Dubai or Taiwan contain narcotic drugs or some other banned substances. However, in none of the cases, these victims have sent any parcel or were expecting any parcel.

The victims are told that drugs like MDMA or Mephedrone along with multiple passports and unaccounted foreign currency have been detected in their parcels.

Then they would impersonate an official from a police station to talk to them about possible arrest. The cyber fraudsters then ask the victims to come on a Skype chat and communicate with a profile that has image and emblem of the investigating agency. The fraudsters often use the name of serving IPS officers in Maharashtra Police or another agency.

The victim, who has already been frightened, tries to ‘settle’ the false case by offering money to avoid arrest, which is transferred to the scamsters.

The scammers use psychological tactics during calls to distress the victims and extract personal identification and bank details. They ask the victim to give their Aadhaar and other identification details apart from the bank information, thus duping money from people. In some cases, they also ask for money on varied pretexts like customs clearance or legal fees.

Rise in Courier Scam

The Cyber Police station of Pune City police is currently investigating a series of ‘drugs in parcel’ fraud cases in which till now, over two dozen people have lost close to Rs 4 crore in total, according to a report in The Indian Express.

Such cases of courier frauds are on rise across states with cases including in Delhi, Mumbai, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Bengaluru. As many as 250 cases involving fake courier fraud was reported in Bengaluru alone in 2023.

In November last year, a Bengaluru resident was duped of Rs 1.52 crore after he fell prey to the courier scam. Debashish Das, 66, received a phone call from a person claiming to be a FedEx employee who said that a case had been registered against Das because a courier sent in his name to Taiwan was found to contain six credit cards, expired passports, and even 950g of MDMA drugs.

With the same modus operandi, the scamsters managed to get all the victim’s money, including his fixed deposits, worth Rs 1.52 crore transferred to their account.

Original news source

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