October 18, 2020 8:48:25 pm
An advertisement offering contractual “work-from-home” government jobs to unemployed youth in the state, published in Gujarati newspapers on October 15, went viral on social media later, attracting the attention of Cyber Crime Cell of Ahmedabad Police.
The advertisement in Gujarati offered 2,520 vacancies in various state departments and claimed, ”Gujarat Employment Services is seeking direct appointment of candidates in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic to work from home on a contract basis of 11 months and online applications are sought in this regard. Due to Covid-19, there is shortage of staff so all interviews will be conducted via phone call and fee and forms are to be submitted online. It is essential for candidates to have education from a recognised state or central university/institute and they must be aged between 18 to 50 years old (sic).” A weblink was also mentioned in the advertisement.
Several social media users alerted the cyber crime cell authorities on Twitter, asking them to verify the contents of the advertisement. Two days later, police arrested a 34-year-old man from Rajkot for allegedly duping 4,500 persons who fell for the fake advertisement by collecting Rs 14 lakh as registration fees, at Rs 300 from each of them.
According to Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell officials, the accused, Sachin Pandya, along with Raghuveer Sarvaiyya, came up with a plan to put out a fake government job advertisement in vernacular newspapers and charge registration fees from the applicants. The duo also planned to conduct online interviews of applicants and charge them money at each stage.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Jitendra Yadav, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell, said, “The advertisement offered 2,520 vacancies for the posts of Business Development Officers, Customer Service Officers, District
Officers, Computer Operators, Writers and Data Entry Operators. The advertisement went viral on social media and when we probed it, we found it was fake. We tracked the account and website mentioned in the ad, and traced the IP address of Sachin Pandya. The other accused, Raghuveer, is absconding and we are probing whether others are involved in the scam.”
Police have booked the two under Indian Penal Code sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 419 (cheating by personation) and 420 (fraud) along with sections of the Information Technology Amended Act.
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