LAHORE  - Fraudsters are looting millions from innocent people in the name of lottery by sending text messages and all transactions are being made through cellular companies’ money transfer schemes, said an FIA officer on Friday.

Mostly culprits send messages to people or contact them through telephone and introduce themselves as representative of mobile company like Ufone/Warid/Mobilink etc.

They inform the victims that they have won cash prize/car etc in a lucky draw. After deceiving innocent people, they demand for some money for the delivery of said prize. They trap people tactfully and receive money from innocent people via western union/U paisa etc.

An FIA officer said that there were more than 50 inquiries wherein millions of rupees were reported to have been minted by the fraudsters.

FIA investigators feared that the said amount could be transferred to terrorists and anti-state elements easily since there was no verification practice while delivering the amount.

According to FIA, the ‘Oadh’ (Gypsy family) community across the country is involved in this fraud. The complete villages are involved in this fraud like Sargodha, Bahkar, Sheikhupura, Khanaywal, Hyderabad, Multan, Peshawar, Azad Kashimir etc. FIA was of the view that the retailers of  mobile money services etc are also involved in this scam, as mobile money services transfer is unsecure. It is very difficult to trace the culprits because the system has many flaws, the agency added.

An FIA officer recommended that State Bank of Pakistan should ban these money transfer systems or introduce authentic system for funds transfer.

There are many enquiries and cases registered with FIA cyber crime circle but FIA officer quoted one of them.

The officer says: “The enquiry is registered against accused persons regarding lottery fraud and during the course of enquiry, the statements of complaint and other concern person recorded”.

It transpired that the complainant (woman) received a call from the accused in October, 2014 and caller told her that she had won a prize in a lucky draw. The accused persons told her that they required processing fee for the completion of lottery process. She sent total Rs 2.3 million in piecemeal through western union to the accused persons. She was defrauded by the accused persons and no prize was delivered to her. After that the accused also threatened her of dire consequences.

During the course of enquiry, the record was collected from western union and it was found that the transactions were made through the different CNICs and received from the different retailers/agents and by the different persons. In the light of record, a case was registered against the culprits.

In another case, one complainant Tasneem Akhtar resident of Faisalabad, it transpired that she received a call from culprits. The caller told to the complainant that she had won a Land Cruiser. The complainant sent total Rs3.2 million in piecemeal through western union/UBL OMNI to culprits. The complainant was ultimately defrauded and no prize was delivered to her.

During the course of enquiry, record was collected from western union/UBL OMNI. It found that the transaction were made through the different CNICs and received from the different retailers/agents.

The accused were traced namely Nasrullah Khan s/o Nawab, Juma Khan s/o Musa Khan, Muhammad Hanif s/o Abdul Ghani, Muhammad Khalid s/o Muhammad Sadique Khan, Muhammad Yaqoob s/o Muhammad Juma, Abdul Ghafar. FIA arrested the accused at Lahore airport.