Fraudsters impersonate a tax official and trick their colleagues into buying gift cards

The Senior Chief Commissioner of Income Tax Department in Mumbai filed a complaint with Azad Maidan Police after unknown fraudsters tried to trick her colleagues into impersonating her on Whatsapp and telling them sending messages asking them to buy Amazon Play gift cards.

Senior Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer Geetha Ravichandran in her statement to police said she was previously posted to Chennai and recently took up duty in Mumbai on April 25. She is the head of the income tax department in Mumbai. Finance capital contributes up to 32 percent of India’s total tax, making it the largest region in terms of tax collection.

However, since her pick-up, she received calls from her colleagues in Chennai on April 26, informing her that they were receiving messages from 8318597422 and 7674986327 where the sender was impersonating Ravichandran and asking them to buy Amazon Play gift cards.

Police said that to make their claims more authentic, the fraudsters used Ravichandran’s photo on the display image of Whatsapp numbers from which they allegedly messaged his colleagues in the IT department.

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“The fraudsters further ensured that his name was displayed on the Truecaller app. As the complainant’s colleagues checked the Truecaller app, the numbers turned out to belong to Ravichandran,” a said an officer from Azad Maidan police station.After learning of the fraud, the senior IRS officer filed a complaint request at the cyber cell office of the southern region of the Mumbai police.

As the investigation was carried out by the cybercell agents, Ravichandran’s colleagues in the Mumbai office began to receive similar messages. “On June 1, my colleagues Devdasan and Jahanjeb Akhtar received similar messages. I was further informed that the images displayed on these Whatsapp numbers were of me,” Ravichandran told police.

Investigators revealed that they were trying to trace the culprits by recording the call details of the numbers from which the complainant’s colleagues were contacted.

Michael N. Clark