Thiruvananthapuram | Highlighting the menace posed by online financial frauds, Kerala Police has said that last year alone it resulted in a total loss of around Rs 201 crore to 23,753 people in the state.
Police said that its Cyber Wing was able to recover 20 per cent of this amount and also blocked 5,107 bank accounts, 3,289 mobile numbers, 239 social media accounts and 945 websites that were used to commit the frauds.
In a release issued by the State Police Media Centre, the police urged people to report online financial frauds within two hours of the incident to 1930 number. This would increase the chances of recovering the amount lost by the victim of the fraud, it said.
"Delay in making complaints is a major problem faced by Kerala Police. If the information is reported to the cyber helpline number 1930 within two hours of the loss of money, the chances of recovering the money are very high.
"But often the police receive complaints after 10 days of depositing the money. This gives the fraudsters enough time to withdraw the amount," it said.
Giving details of the modus operandi of the fraudsters, police said that such scams of inviting investment by promising huge profits are started through popular social media platforms.
"The scammers make people who contact them through social media join their Telegram group. They then ask for deposits through a fake website.
"Initially, exorbitant profits are given to those who deposit a small amount so that they have more faith in the fraudsters and are willing to invest a larger deposit," it said.
Those who are in league with the scamsters pose as investors and post fake screenshots of the huge profits they got on the Telegram group. This convinces the victims to deposit huge amounts, and then they get a notification stating that they have earned profits two to three times more than what they invested, it said.
However, when they seek to withdraw the money, they are told that they have to invest more in order to withdraw the principal amount and dividends.
The fraudsters also take more money under the guise of GST and tax to withdraw the deposit, police said, adding that such investment frauds of crores of rupees were taking place in the state on a daily basis.
The police have advised people to check the website of the Reserve Bank of India and ensure the credibility of the institutions before investing money in order to avoid such investment scams.
The credibility of the institutions can also be verified by contacting any nearest bank branch, it said.
It requested the public to be vigilant against cyber scams and to report incidents of online frauds on the 24-hour cyber helpline number 1930.