Fraudsters target villages in cell tower scam

They lured people with a commission of Rs 27k per month.

Hyderabad: The old method of conning the gullible has resurfaced again.

Crooks target villages on the outskirts of the city, claiming to be from a major mobile telecommunications conglomerate and stating that they would be setting up a 4G tower in their village. They quote an amount to the village heads, assuring them of advance payment in lakhs of rupees.

“They even sent an invoice over post, to be filled up and sent back, and provided us with account numbers” said the village head of Siddipet, a village recently targeted by the scamsters.

“He promised the person that the firm would pay a monthly rent of Rs 27,000 and Rs 8.1 lakh as advance for using the property and provided a written agreement for the deal,” he said.

When this newspaper called the mobile number provided by a villager, one Ajit Kumar answered the call and said that he was speaking from the Okhla area of Delhi and that they would need documents of the landowner and a specified amount to proceed further.

“After you deposit the amount and submit the documents, our executives will reach out within three days and start the tower project. We are a legitimate company and would be providing such services in remote villages,” he said.

However, an executive from the network denied any such initiative and asked the public to be cautious.

“When we need to set up a tower, we will contact the people in person. We request everyone not to respond to such mails.” he said.

“None of the telecom companies collects any commission from the landowner and the agents who have been given the task of tower installations have been strictly advised on the matter.” said the spokesperson of a mobile service provider.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also cautioned the general public about such frauds.

Urging the general public to be cautious, an official from TRAI said that they did not have any role in the installation of such towers.

Persons in different parts of the country had fallen prey to the fraud which could amount to more than Rs 50 lakh, police officials said, further cautioning the public to beware.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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