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Indians trapped in Cambodia forced into cheating people back home

Indians trapped in Cambodia forced into cheating people back home

New Delhi: Fraudsters in Cambodia have trapped over 5000 Indians, who reached the Southeast Asian country seeking data entry jobs, and use them to dupe people back home for money, The Indian Express reported.

The cyber frauds, running organised racket, have cheated people in India of at least Rs 500 crore, gleaning their details from social media, the report said citing the government estimates.

Taking note of the incidents, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) called a meeting earlier this month of officials from Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity), the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) to discuss a strategy to rescue those trapped in Cambodia.

‘The agenda of their meeting was to discuss the organised racket and bring back those who are trapped there. Data shows that Rs 500 crore has been lost (to cyber fraud originating in Cambodia) in India in the last six months,’ the source reportedly said.

The probe by central agencies reportedly revealed that the agents involved in the crime sent people mostly from the southern parts of the country to Cambodia offering data entry jobs.

These job-seekers were forced to dupe people in India and extort money often acting as law enforcement who would threaten unsuspecting people that some suspicious materials were found in their parcels.

Authorities have brought back three people from Bengaluru trapped in Cambodia.

It all came to light when the Rourkela Police in Odisha on December 30 last year arrested eight people allegedly belonging to a cyber-crime syndicate involved in taking people to Cambodia.

An officer linked to the Rourkela Police’s operation said that the case was related the complaint by a senior Central government officer who had been cheated of around Rs 70 lakh, according to the report.

‘We arrested eight persons from different parts of the country and we have prima facie evidence against multiple people who are involved in the scam. We issued Look Out Circulars against 16 people, following which the Bureau of Immigration this week detained two persons, Harish Kurapati and Naga Venkata Sowjanya Kurapati, at the Hyderabad airport while they were returning from Cambodia,’ the officer was quoted as saying.

The three people rescued with the help of the MEA are from Karnataka, according to Dr Arathi Krishna, Deputy Chairman of the Non-Resident Indian Forum of the Government of Karnataka (NRIFK).

The rescued persons informed that around 200 more people from the region are still trapped in Cambodia, according to Dr Arathi Krishna.

‘Our organisation was approached by their family members and they informed us that they went to work as data entry operators, but were forced to carry out cyber scams. Our organisation coordinated with the MEA and the Indian embassy in Cambodia to bring them back,’ she reportedly said.

One of the rescued identified as Stephen, who has an ITI degree and done some computer courses, reportedly said that an agent offered him data entry job in Cambodia and he was brought to the country on tourist visa.

‘ They tested our typing speeds etc. It’s only later that we got to know that our job involved looking for profiles on Facebook and identifying people who can be scammed. The team was Chinese, but there was a Malaysian who translated their instructions to us in English,’ he was quoted as saying.

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TAGS:Cyber fraudsterscybercrimesIndia NewsCambodia News
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