Swindlers use 121 to get the better of ‘greedy’ Airtel customer

Extract Rs 1,35000 using Amitabh Bachan’s KBC voice

SRINAGAR: In a shocking incident of cheat and deceit, customer care number (121) of the telecom company Bharti Airtel was used to dupe a poor labourer from Bemina Srinagar of Rs one lakh thirty-five thousand.

Irshad Mushtaq Bhat, a 30-year-old labourer from Gulshan Abad Bemina locality of Srinagar city has been duped after being told by a caller, identifying himself as Prithiv Raj, that he had won Rs 25 lakh as the prize money in the “Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC)” lucky draw and he needed to deposit Rs 1,35000 as tax to clear his prize money.

“I first received a call on August 25 from the mobile number 0016108509177 and the caller informed that I had won Rs 25 lakh as the prize money in KBC,” Irshad told a local news agency. “The caller informed him that KBC was sponsored by Airtel and that he will receive a call from 121 to proceed further.”

Barely five minutes after he reportedly received a call from Airtel customer care on his number +918493090043: “The caller asked him to talk to the Bollywood star Amitabh Bachan who according to him was on line,” he said. “The voice of the actor was exactly the same that I have heard on TV or radio.

The ‘actor’ after congratulating him advised him to spend the prize money for the right cause, he said.

“The customer care executive informed me to meet one of the Airtel executives at Church Lane Sonawar office,” he said. “He asked me to handover Rs 85,000 to the executive as income tax against his prize money.”

“The executive whom I met at the Airtel office was well-dressed and wearing a proper identity card.  After handing over Rs 85,000 to him, the person informed me to deposit Rs 50,000 more and I immediately rushed to Punjab National Bank branch Batamaloo where I deposited the money in the account of one M. Rajni (account number 0629000100325006),” Irshad said.

“I was asked to send my identity proof and a photo to an e-mail id, [email protected] which I did immediately. After depositing and handing over money to them, I lost contact with them as their mobile number is switched off. I lost everything and now I hope the Crime Brach will investigate the matter,” he said adding that he has already registered a report in Crime Branch.

“I fail to understand how they used 121 Airtel customer care number. It was this number that made be believe that it is not a game,” rued Irshad. “I’m an Airtel subscriber and we receive dozens of calls from Airtel customer care and we never doubt the integrity of these callers. How they used 121 customer care number has been puzzling and torturing me.”

An Airtel official was equally surprised when the matter was brought into her notice. “Nevertheless, we have taken a note and we would look into the matter,” she said.

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