Fraudsters swindle crores in Chennai after sending ‘spoofed’ emails to jobless techies – The New Indian Express

Chennai News

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Received a job offer mail from a famous company or government portal? Be alert! You just might have been ‘spoofed’. The arrest of a former techie in Chennai has blown the lid on a racket in which crores of rupees were swindled from unemployed techies using the email id of his previous employer, a popular tech firm, police said.

Prabhu’s luxurious life which saw him raking in at least Rs 50 lakh per year came to an end on Wednesday when the Adyar Cyber Crime police arrested him.

The 31-year-old from Tambaram worked in an IT firm in the city,  drawing a salary of Rs 25,000. In 2015, police said he started cheating people after promising jobs in the company and was arrested subsequently. Blackmarked since then, Prabhu used a different modus operandi to not get on the radar, police said.

The issue came to light when one of his victims, Amarnath from Kottivakkam, lodged a complaint with the Adyar Cyber cell on Tuesday, saying he was cheated to the tune of Rs 20,500 by a fraudster.

Police said Prabhu joined hands with Solomon from Ambattur whom he met in prison and his friend Yuvaraj to carry out the scam.

Modus operandi:

“Yuvaraj worked in a bar. Solomon and Yuvaraj met several migrant labourers and daily wage labourers at the liquor shop and asked for their bank details, ATM card and a SIM card registered in their name for a price of Rs 5000. This way, Prabhu was avoiding the police since whenever a complaint was lodged, the police would nab the labourer and the latter would eventually be let off with a warning,” said V Vikraman, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Adyar.

Meanwhile, Prabhu installed a small office at Kolathur and registered as a financing company, police said. He also registered himself as a consultant on job searching sites like Quikr and Naukri. Prabhu would receive details of people with IT and tech backgrounds, looking for a job for Rs 5000 onwards.

“Like he used to at the IT company, Prabhu set targets for each project. In a single project, he would collect details of 300 people and target Rs 15 lakh over a period of 3-6 months. Before moving to the next objective, he would discard the ATM cards, SIM card and destroy the phone. He made sure no one suspected him for those few months,” said Sub Inspector of Police Maharajan from the Adyar Cyber Cell.

Step 1: The victim receives an SMS and email announcing a job vacancy.

Step 2: The fraudster and his team wait for a reply.

Step 3: People who have replied are pursued further while others keep on receiving the announcement messages until they respond.

Step 4: A woman posing as a receptionist calls over the phone claiming that the HR is interested in their profile and they should wait for a date of interview.

Step 5: During an announced date, a fraudster posing as an HR conducts an interview over the phone.

Step 6: The victim receives an email that the offer letter is ready from the mail id of the original HR of the firm through ‘spoofing’.

Step 7: The fraudster calls seeking Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 as bribe to send the offer letter pointing out the huge number of unemployed people who will be willing to spend that money.

Step 8: The victim sends a photoshopped job offer letter and switches off his mobile. It takes at least a month for the victim to realise he has been cheated.


A spoofing attack is a situation in which a person or program successfully identifies as another by falsifying data to gain an illegitimate advantage. Spoofing can apply to emails, phone calls and websites, or can be more technical, such as a computer spoofing an IP address, Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) or Domain Name System (DNS) server.

Police said that Prabhu used a website to spoof the email id of a HR from his former IT company. “Since he worked for some years in the IT company, he knew how to conduct an interview asking technical questions and also knew the email id of members in the Human Resources team. This came in handy for Prabhu as he photoshopped his own job offer letter he had received years ago and sent it to the victims,” said V Vikraman.

Busting the fraudster:

On November 3, Amarnath from Kottivakkam lodged a complaint with the Adyar cyber cell. The fraudster had asked for a bribe to appoint him to the post of Senior Analyst in a well-known IT firm. The cyber cell team investigated and found the location of the office to be in Paper Mills Road in Velan Nagar near Kolathur. After two days of surveillance, the police team nabbed the accused.

Prabhu, Solomon and Yuvaraj were remanded in judicial custody. The police team also seized two laptops, 4 ATM cards and a car.