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Cops: Don’t respond to lottery messages

Pracheta Panja

It’s a new-age way of ripping people off. Several Bengalureans, including educated people, have lost money by responding to messages that say they have won a lottery. Fraudsters send messages, by email or text, asking for details of the recipient’s bank account, saying the money won in lottery would be credited to it.
Police say people should use their common sense and never respond to such messages.

Aloka Pyne, a homemaker, told The Observer she lost Rs 50,000 after she responded to a call.
“She said that she was calling from the State Bank of India and asked for my account details. My account has some issues that they wanted to fix, she added. I and my husband were convinced and gave the account number and debit card details. Then we realized our account balance had become zero,” Pyne said.

Another victim, software engineer Mohd Maidul Islam Molla, said: “I lost Rs 5,000 by falling into the trap of a telecaller.”

In 2014, a Bengaluru couple lost Rs 1.3 crore to an online lottery scam.

Joint commissioner of police (crime) N Satheesh Kumar said: “We tell people all the time to beware of such calls. If educated people fall prey, we cannot do anything. They must understand what to respond and what not to. We help uneducated people by making them aware that they should not give important credential to anybody.”
Section 463 of the Indian Penal Code says: “Whoever makes any false documents or false electronic record or part of a document or electronic record, with intent to cause damage or injury o the public or to any person, or to support any claim or title, or to cause any person to part with property, or to enter into any express or implied contract, or with intent to commit fraud or that fraud may be committed, commits forgery.”

To prevent such frauds, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in June introduced a new version of Do Not Disturb along with My Speed App and My Call App. These apps can identify spam calls and block them. TRAI also introduced a process through which people can register complaints by dialing 1909.
Nationalized banks send their customers text messages saying they never ask customers for their bank details or PIN.