THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala hi-tech crime enquiry cell has begun a probe into attempts by fraudsters to swindle money by approaching people on social media.
The fraudsters sent friend requests from fake Facebook accounts of senior IPS officers of the Kerala police asking for money on the pretext of seeking donations for humanitarian work by the cops. As per the complaint from an Aluva native, friend requests came from more than 20 police officers including those in the rank of DGP like DGP (Prisons) Rishiraj Singh.
According to the hi-tech cell, it could be handiwork of online fraudsters based in North India. The preliminary probe revealed that the fake profiles were recently created from Rajasthan and Odisha.
Officials said the fraudsters might have copied details of senior police officers from their original Facebook profiles. The modus operandi of the fraudsters goes like this: The fraudsters send friend requests mostly to affluent people. Once Facebook users accept the friend request, they chat with them through Facebook messenger. After getting acquainted, they ask for money on the pretext of seeking donations for humanitarian workers of police. Then they ask the users to send money via Paytm or Google Pay.
The latest instance was the creation of a fake Facebook account in the name of District Narcotic Cell (Rural) DySP and Student Police Cadet Nodal officer MR Madhu Babu. There were fake profiles of IG P Vijayan, G Lakshmana and some officers of DySP ranks.
The users approached the police when they grew suspicious over the veracity of the account. Later, the cybercell realised the gravity of the crime and the DGP handed it over the case to the state hi-tech crime enquiry cell for a detailed probe.
“So far, no one has lost money through this. We have launched a probe and the initial evidence revealed that they are based in North Indian states such as Rajasthan and Odisha. We are tracking down their IP address and will seek the assistance of police there to nab them at the earliest,” said a senior police officer in the hi-tech cell.