Hyderabad: When 19-year-old engineering student K. Chetan received a call from a person who claimed to be a production team member of Kaun Banega Crorepati, he was surprised.
The caller told him that his phone number was randomly selected as his cellphone service provider was one of the promoters of the programme.
Chetan was told that he was selected for the 9th season of the programme, and he was invited for the shooting, which purportedly would begin next month. The caller asked him to pay Rs 15,000 as the entry fee.
Chetan duly deposited the money in a bank account whose number the caller gave him. "No one called me. When I tried to call back the team member’s number, I found that my number was put on the reject list. When I called from another number, I realised that I had been cheated," Chetan said.
Like Chetan, some city residents are getting calls from the ‘production team’ of KBC.
The callers tell their victims that they have been selected for the game, or that they have won a lottery of KBC.
At least 30 residents paid thousands in order to get a seat on the programme, according to the Central Crime Station police. They include students, techies, and professionals.
The callers speak good English and Hindi and tell the victims that several people across India have already got the prize money.
"The callers convince the victims that they can win a huge amount from the programme since they have won the lottery," said Central Crime Station DCP Ravi Varma.
Cyber cops suspect that some gangs based in North India could be behind the scam.
"We suspect that the scamsters might be located in Gurgaon, Noida or some North Indian cities. They target residents in the south so that the cops cannot catch them easily," said a senior CCS official said.
Officials said there were also several fake websites and blogs asking people to register and enter the programme.
Once they log in, they are asked to pay registration fee. Officials said youngsters should not to fall prey to the scamsters.