By Zafar Abbas
New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) Fraudsters are now cashing on the trust and goodwill of the Indian Army and paramilitary forces to cheat people online. A web is weaved around potential buyers or sellers on sites such as OLX and Quikr and people are lured by either the promise of a second-hand car in good condition or any other expensive item being sold at a throwaway price just because the army or paramilitary personnel have been transferred and could not carry the goods with them.
Sometimes the fraudsters pose as buyers and show urgency in transferring the amount. Most times the victims fall prey and ends up losing money. To win the trust of innocent buyers, they also send them fake Army and Paramilitary ID cards and ask for a small advance booking amount as token money which can range from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000, to seal the deal.
Once the buyer deposits the amount in the said bank account or the wallet of the seller, they stop picking up their calls and stop responding. Many buyers refrain from complaining to the police as the amount is small and they do not want to lodge an FIR.
So widespread is the magnitude of the fraud that even the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) had to tweet from its official handle to caution buyers against falling in the trap. On a complaint of similar nature, in which a person tagged the CISF about the possible fraud in the name of the force, the CISF responded on Twitter.
“Fraudulent persons are cheating and duping others in pretext of selling or buying through OLX. Be aware of such fraudulent persons & bring it to notice of others also. Kindly visit your nearest police Station and lodge a complaint about the fraud,” the CISF tweeted on September 4.
The Delhi Police in May this year arrested a person for duping an Air Force officer with a similar modus operandi where a man claiming to be a CISF constable wanted to purchase his old furniture. Since, the complainant’s app wasn’t functional, he requested using his relative’s phone number for the money transfer. But, instead of the money being credited to the account, Rs 75,000 was debited from their account.The UPI link generated by them was not meant for crediting money but for debiting money for their potential victims’ bank accounts.
A similar case came up in Shahdara district of Delhi earlier this month.
“The complainant stated that he posted the advertisement to sell his house products on an onnline Shopping Portal. The fraudster called him and stated that he is interested to buy the articles and claiming himself as an army man. After negotiations, the fraudster stated that he is sending the promised amount to him by QR code and stated that he has to scan the QR code after scanning QR code Rs. 1,76,500 were deducted from his account,” said DCP Shahdara, Amit Sharma.
Social media is flooded with complaints of a similar nature where the people are lured into such deals which appear lucrative to people. A seller falls into the trap thinking that he is dealing with a bonafide Army or paramilitary officer. Also, the alleged buyer doesn’t even negotiate for the asked amount. Perceiving it to be a profitable deal, they scan the QR code sent through WhatsApp to receive money. However, they end up losing the same amount from their own account.
“Don’t buy or sell the article on online shopping portals (for buying or selling used items) from anyone who is showing merely some unauthenticated official ID to buy or sell the articles. Your awareness can save your-hard earned money,” was the officer’s advice.
(Zafar Abbas can be contacted at [email protected])