Online fraudster dupes people using US military bank

Prateek Goyal
Thursday, 12 October 2017

Pune: “Hi, I am Tony Phillips, I like your product. Can you please text me your WhatsApp number," is how a fraudster, who operates with many English names (Charles Lenoir or Frank Poland), initiates a conversation before duping you. 

The fraudster has duped more than a dozen people and sends e-mails to his victims in the name of Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which serves US military personnel, in order to receive payment from them. 

Pune: “Hi, I am Tony Phillips, I like your product. Can you please text me your WhatsApp number," is how a fraudster, who operates with many English names (Charles Lenoir or Frank Poland), initiates a conversation before duping you. 

The fraudster has duped more than a dozen people and sends e-mails to his victims in the name of Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which serves US military personnel, in order to receive payment from them. 

His latest victim is a 24-year-old youth from Pune, selling his Play Station-4 on OLX. The victim has submitted a complaint in this regard to Cyber Crime Cell of Pune police on Thursday.

The complainant, on the condition of anonymity, informed Sakal Times that on October 4, he put up an advertisement on online marketing site OLX to sell his video game. A day later, he received a message from a person named Tony Phillips, who identified himself as an American citizen, and asked the complainant to share his contact number.

Phillips showed interest in buying the product and agreed to pay Rs 25,000. However, he asked the complainant to deliver the product to an address of his friend in Bengaluru and agreed to pay additional Rs 4,000 for the transportation.

“The total deal was finalised at Rs 30,000, after which I couriered the video game and sent him the account details. Then I received an e-mail from a representative of Pentagon Federal Credit Union Bank, who identified himself as Frank Poland, and asked me to send the tracking number of the courier to process the money transfer. I sent the tracking number to them and later received an e-mail, which stated that to process the money transfer, I have to deposit a government tax fee of Rs 15,000 in the host account of Pen Fed Bank located in India,” said the complainant.

The complainant found that the host account number was of India-based SBI. He said, “When I received the e-mail to submit Rs 15,000, I suspected foulplay. I enquired with the banks and was informed that no such procedures exist. I contacted Phillips and he told me that the bank has already deducted money from his account." 

When the complainant asked him to send the electricity bill of his address, he denied and stopped taking his calls.

The complainant informed that the mobile number used by the fraudster belonged to Nigeria. 

Exercise caution
- There are many complaints against the fraudster and his modus operandi is using the name of Pentagon Federal Credit Union Bank on a website by the name of Grahak Suraksha.
- Sudhir Hiremath, DCP, Cyber Crime and Economic Offences Wing, said, “There is a rise in such kind of cases, people should be careful while dealing and should verify the person before making any transactions. We have managed to get a refund of Rs 60 lakh this year and are doing our best to arrest such fraudsters.”  
 

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