Mumbai, Oct 17 (IANS) In a big crackdown, the Mumbai Police has exposed an inter-state racket offering lucrative international jobs to gullible senior citizens through social media and cheating them of huge amounts, an official said here on Wednesday.
Four persons, one from Mumbai and three from Bengaluru, have been arrested for the racket which has its tentacles in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and other states, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Akbar Pathan.
Terming it as a "major cheating racket", Pathan said further investigations are underway to unravel all the Indian and global links, besides finding out how many people have been cheated and since how long it has been going on.
According to investigations, in August, a retired senior citizen who had earlier worked in a Gulf country, was looking for a suitable job when he came across a Facebook page 'International Jobs & Free Recruitment'.
Claiming impeccable credentials, the advertiser offered to have high-paying technical jobs in USA, Canada, UAE and other countries for interested applicants.
Accordingly, the complainant established contacts with the advertiser who sought his bio-data, documents and certificates on email and social media, and subsequently got back with an offer of a well-paying job in Canada matching his profile.
The advertiser also created a WhatsApp Group with a foreign mobile SIM card and asked the complainant and other applicants to submit their details like photos, passports, visas, etc.
To further gain trust, the advertiser uploaded details of several persons for whom he had allegedly secured high-salaried jobs in different countries.
Thereafter, the applicants were told to deposit Rs 1,48,000 in different bank accounts for processing their job applications and other expenses.
When nothing seemed to move forward in the matter for nearly two months, the applicants demanded their money back, but were threatened by the advertiser. Finally, they approached the Kandivali Police station for help and registered a first information report (FIR).
Later, given the nationwide and possibly international ramifications, the case was taken over by the Crime Branch Unit 11, CID, for further investigations which formed special teams to nab the culprits.
A couple of days ago, the police managed to arrest the first suspect from Mumbai's Goregaon and after sustained interrogation, he spilled the beans on three other accomplices in Bengaluru.
The police have said that during investigations, it has come to light that the gang may have defrauded many people of huge amounts and the case now has international links with the cheats operating from several countries working in tandem to dupe job-seekers.
The police have slapped charges under the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act, besides seizing laptops, mobiles, SIM cards, incriminating documents and other materials from the four accused.