Gilgit - Baltistan

Cellphone fraudsters reach the heights

By: Zulfiqar Ali Khan

 The mushroom growth of mobile services in Hunza and Nagar valleys has ended the isolation of these remote communities but the simple people have become easy target of big city fraudsters through mobile phone scams of mobiledifferent kinds. A common one is the good tiding one receives of having won a huge sum in a lottery to claim which the winner is required to pay a small amount towards completion of formalities. Once that amount has been paid, the award givers vanish from the scene.
Mobile phone companies are unable to catch he fraudsters as according to National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) records there are about 2.85 million subscribers who are untraceable. People also blame cellular companies for looting the subscribers by hiding different premium numbers.

To cheat mobile users in Hunza-Nagar the cheats are using two different tactics — text messages and surprise calls. The subscribers are congratulated for winning a big cash prize or car in a lucky draw.

In order to collect the prize the subscribers need to transfer mobile balance of different values through easy-loads. It’s a massive fraud and hundreds of people have lost money in the hands of such criminals.

The other type of fraud, which has recently come to notice of many people, is the unsolicited phone call congratulating the subscriber on winning a car or any other big prize in a lucky draw scheme of some food company. The prospective victim is told that before he/she can claim the prize, he/she must transfer money online to complete the initial processes.

A person, from Aliabad, Hunza, reported to this correspondent: ‘I am aware of such frauds but they trapped me in such an organised way that I fell prey to these criminals’. He said one evening he received a call about winning a car. On inquiry, he was told he had filled a coupon during a promotional drive with his NIC number etc that was used by the food company in the lucky draw. He was directed to contact the GM of the company to claim his prize. The GM told him the car would be delivered to him in two days from Karachi in the presence of two witnesses. They later agreed to cargo the car on payment of Rs30,000 for transport and other formalities.

He said he had long discus sions with about 10 different people on eight different numbers of four famous cellular companies and finally made online transfer of the money in a bank account of UBL in Karachi. He said the next day he received another phone call from the truck driver who demanded transfer of Rs20,000 as custom duty required to enter Punjab from Sindh.

“For the first time I felt that something was wrong. The person called me several times and I decided to send a person from Rawalpindi to pay the custom dues. But there was nothing there”, he said.

All the contact numbers had also gone silent, he said, and the bank also had no clue as the account had been opened on fake papers. The account holders had vanished after withdrawing a huge deposit. Though he had lost Rs30,000, he wanted other people to beware of such fraudsters and the mobile companies to do something against misuse of the cell phones by criminals. He also regarded the recent online verification system introduced by Nadra as ineffective to stop such cases as the criminals can easily access the details of the subscribers needed for verification. Also at Dawn

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  1. This is not new the arban folks are aware of it, it may be new to NA people of hearing winning of prize through lucky drow, even i may self received many calls, but people need to use their coman sence of winning such big prize, even i have brought this to the knowledge of CEO mobilink, one person was cought through the number which i had given to the CEO, that person was belong to the Fasilabad, he was arrested but later on he release on the personal gurantee of the MPA. so before doing any thing just call to that cell phone co for identifying the caller.

  2. One more point to be rememebred, do not reply to any business card message without checking the sender otherwise anyone can transfer the balance amount to any number even without knowing it!!!

    The best method to avoid such occurances is to ingore such calls and offers.

  3. Zilfiqar! Greedy people rewards accordingly!!!
    Two to four assumptions made in the news item are false ob basis of its interpretation. Firstly, the people of Hunza are too tricky difficult to deceive them, secondly the payment was made through the bank while the bank keeps every record. For which you have mentioned that on false papers the accounts was opened and the rupees were received. The bankers are not the people of NAs so they could be easily cheated. Even the walk-in customer by requirement of the regulations has to present his personal ID. The person who received the sum must have already the account in the bank. While prey of fraud is the remitter of the money. How this is possible that the beneficiary of remittance got the money without any traceable whereabouts. It is requirement by the law that the beneficiary must to have the account in any bank with sufficient KYC requirements. So it is the news for making people busy in Hunza/Nager in winter season as the substance in the news has no material importance.

    Please be careful for authentication of news before it come to public. Always show your integrity.

    UR Friend

  4. Dear Saher,

    Thanks for your comments. The news is not based on any assumptions. Whatever you highlighted is aplicable in any ideal country not in Pakistan. Here these are common. I myself visited the bank branch in Karachi and also called the other branch in Lahore and also visited FIA cyber crime in Islamabad.

    After thorough investigation i made this news online and if you want to confirm yourself i can give you the contact numbers of the persons deceived.

    The story in the news is not of a illiterate person but of a well educated. So i assure you that the people in Hunza can also be deceived. This is not the only case but there are many unreported mobile frauds.


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