The harassment of cellular users by immoral elements is escalating, with scammers and charlatans resorting to different strategies, like threatening and death dangers, to extort money from the fatalities. Many cases have been reported from various parts of the country, comprising the federal capital, whereby anonymous callers threatened the victims to pay money or face the penalties. Due to the dithering of the authorities concerned, including PTA and FIA, the scammers, who were formerly using bogus cash prizes schemes as an instrument to divest the users of their hard-earned money, have now started extorting the users.
FIA Confirms Cases of Cellular Blackmailing by Criminal Networks in Pakistan
Some criminal networks call the telecom subscribers and present themselves as adherents of Punjab Police’s Criminal Investigation Agency (CIA), telling the users that they have charges registered against them and claim money to prevent penalties. In one such incident, a caller using the number 0333-6613920 forged himself as CIA Inspector Abdul Aziz employed in Lahore and called a high-rank government official in Islamabad. The caller informed the government official that a rape case was registered against him, and demanded Rs 500,000 from the government officer.
After checking the data from Lahore Police, it was discovered that the whole information about the caller was wrong and criminal networks were making up similar stories to get money from the victims. Upon investigation the said SIM was registered in the name of a female student from Muzaffarabad.
Another such case reported, a man calling from the number 0322-4021049 called a person in the federal capital and identified himself as Inspector of Lahore Police CIA branch. He also tried to blackmail his quarry and demanded money. After investigation, the said SIM was found to be registered in the name of Muhammad Aslam, inhabitant of Lahore.
“Telecom blackmail has cost several people dearly, some of whom have even lost their lives. If departments like PTA, FIA and police take timely and adequate action, this can be stopped.”
Said one of the victims.
When contacted, PTA representative Khurram Mehran said PTA has concrete mechanism to take to charge false callers and scammers. The authority has a toll-free number and a website where the victims can register their grievances, he informed.
“After verification, the PTA blocks such numbers or issue warnings to the callers.”
Upon a question regarding criminal networks harassing and blackmailing the mobile users, the PTA spokesperson said that the FIA deals with such circumstances.