Friday, October 3, 2014

Criminal Activity using TrueCaller - Police arrest a Habitual Extortionist

A Extortion attempt, using the features of the True Caller App, has been innovatively used by a habitual criminal.
 
This Accused "saved new mobile numbers in the name of HNS Rao and the jurisdictional SP on Truecaller. He also got four of his friends to do the same thing. He would then source contact details of officials raided by the Lokayukta and call them using the number. With Truecaller flashing the names and details of the ADGP and SP, gullible officials would succumb and pay up. Lokayukta officials have received 27 complaints against Kambar over the last three years. "

Claiming to be Lokayukta police chief, he extorted money from those raided by the anti-corruption watchdog

A few days after he was raided by the Lokayukta police on June 11, Ashok R Bhat, assistant conservator of forests, received a call from a man who introduced himself as HNS Rao, ADGP and chief of the Lokayukta police wing. The caller merely told Bhat that the local SP of the Lokayukta police would call him shortly and disconnected the call.

Shortly later, Bhat received another call from a man claiming to be DS Siddegowda, SP, Karwar. The caller told Bhat that he was in touch with Rao and promised to brush his case under the carpet. Bhat had no reason to suspect the true identity of the caller since he had installed the Truecaller app on his phone and in both instances the names of the caller — HNS Rao and Siddegowda — flashed on the screen.

A few days later the man claiming to be the SP called again asking Bhat to deposit Rs 50,000 into a bank account. Bhat obliged and some days later Bhat again received a call from 'Siddegowda' asking him to hand over Rs 2 lakh to settle the case. However, before Bhat could pay up, he learnt that he was being taken for a ride by a clever former police constable who cleverly used Truecaller, the online 'verified' telephone directory app, to extort money from a number of government servants.

Murugappa Ningapppa Kambar, 48, who was dismissed from service after he was caught trying to extort money, smartly preyed on the gullibility of government servants who were raided by the Lokayukta. Police have found that in the last three years, Kambar had extorted at least Rs 12 lakh. Most of extortion happened right under the nose of police — while he was in Dharwad Central Prisons. Police have found that at least 27 officials had fallen prey to his scheme. Kambar is now facing 17 cases in different parts of the state.

Besides the Rs 50,000, Kambar had tried to extort Rs 2 lakh from Bhat, but officials stumbled on his scheme when Bhatkal MLA, Mankal Vaidya, heard of Bhat's case. Vaidya informed Lokayukta Bangalore DySP, M Narayana, of the calls Bhat had received from the 'ADGP' and 'SP', Lokayukta. A team of officials including city SP, Dr BA Mahesh and Narayana launched a probe into the case. The details they uncovered shocked the team.

They found that Kambar, a habitual offender — he was arrested twice in 2012 for extorting money from government officials in the name of Lokayukta police — saved new mobile numbers in the name of HNS Rao and the jurisdictional SP on Truecaller. He also got four of his friends to do the same thing. He would then source contact details of officials raided by the Lokayukta and call them using the number.

With Truecaller flashing the names and details of the ADGP and SP, gullible officials would succumb and pay up. Lokayukta officials have received 27 complaints against Kambar over the last three years.

"If somebody is caught, s/he usually reforms," a police officer said. "But this man went a step ahead — he used technology to extort money. His Truecaller modus operandi is perhaps the first of its kind. When we learnt of the Bhat incident, a case was immediately booked at Mundugod, Karwar. Our probe led straight to Kambar and he openly confessed details his operation."

Police found that the bank account Kambar had given to his victims was in the name of a fellow jail inmate who hailed from Bihar. That man was jailed in an road accident case.

"The case was reported in Karwar where the accused had used my name," Rao told BM. "I advise public servants not to yield to these pranks. Officials must double check. They can contact me, the DIG, SPs or the Lokayukta office to verify." 


Source - http://www.bangaloremirror.com/bangalore/crime/Conman-used-Truecaller-to-scam-officials/articleshow/44126581.cms

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