“A group-marketing fraud in the name of a big telecom company has been enticing unsuspecting victims across the country, duping them of lakhs of rupees,” TAIPA said in a statement.
These frauds — which are unique to India owing to its fast escalating mobile market — trap victims by offering to “lease” out their land at exorbitant rents.
Outlining the modus operandi, TAIPA said the fraudsters claiming to be agents of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) or any renowned telecom company, approach unsuspecting victims with lucrative offers.
They offer a productive monthly rent, offer free installation of towers, and even promise to waive the mandatory fees to the local municipal bodies.
Victims of the fraud are offered a one-time payment of Rs 2,00,000 to Rs 3,00,000 and gifts like iPhones.
“In return, the innocent, unsuspecting owner of the property deposits cash into the accounts of the fake company as tax under the Telecom Act for renting their premises to set up telecom towers. The innocent property owner is also issued a fake receipt,” TAIPA informed.
Once cash is deposited, the fraudsters close their bank accounts and shift to another city, it added.
“There is an urgent need for the people to alert themselves about the installation tower frauds taking place across the country. TRAI does not issue NOC (no objection certificate) for installation of mobile towers and whenever a fraudster approaches them with such a letter, they should directly report the matter to the concerned telecom service provider and call the police to take further disciplinary action,” T R Dua, Director General of TAIPA, said.
TAIPA release said that the regulator has already issued a warning asking consumers to beware of lucrative offers of high rent from mobile tower installation.
“The regulator has clarified that it is not involved, even indirectly, in the installation of mobile towers. Fraudsters become unreachable after collection of money and issue fake ‘No Objection Certificates/Permissions’ for the installation of tower purportedly issued by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology,” TAIPA cautioned.