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How Herbal Deals On Facebook Cost a Vadodara Man Rs 95 Lakh!

Vadodara man duped of Rs 95 lakh in an online herbal scam sparked by a simple Facebook friend request.



Vadodara Man Loses Rs 95 Lakh in Bizarre Online Scam Involving Herbal Products!

Vadodara : A resident of Alkapuri, Vadodara, Parag Desai, has filed a complaint with the Cyber Crime police station against unidentified individuals for duping him of a staggering Rs 95 lakh in an online scam.

Desai’s ordeal began in October last year when he received a friend request on Facebook from a woman named Steff Mhiz. They initiated a conversation, which eventually progressed to regular chats on WhatsApp after they exchanged phone numbers.

The woman then presented Desai with a seemingly lucrative business opportunity. She claimed her company required herbal products readily available in India and convinced him to act as a middleman. Desai would purchase the products for Rs 1 lakh per packet and sell them to her company for double the price, earning a significant profit. To sweeten the deal, she promised Desai a share of the profits if he could manage to procure 100 packets.

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Desai, enticed by the prospect of easy money, agreed to the plan. The woman then connected him with a certain Dr. Virendra, supposedly the supplier of the herbal products. Virendra sent Desai product details via email and, upon the woman’s instruction, Desai transferred Rs 1 lakh to Virendra for a sample packet. While Virendra did send some packets, Desai did not inspect them initially.

Buoyed by the initial exchange, Desai placed an order for more packets, transferring a total of Rs 68 lakh to various bank accounts provided by Virendra at different times. Virendra, however, kept demanding more money under various pretexts. When Desai grew suspicious and requested a refund and cancellation of the deal, both Virendra and the woman vanished. Desai, upon opening the sample packets, discovered to his horror that they contained nothing more than fried chips and powder.

The Cyber Crime police station in Vadodara is currently investigating the case. This incident serves as a stark reminder to exercise caution when interacting with strangers online, especially those offering seemingly lucrative business propositions. Desai’s case highlights the importance of verifying information and avoiding financial transactions with unknown individuals.

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Nigerian Scammers Shift Tactics, Target Educated Indians with MNC, Herbal Seed Lies

Nigerian fraudsters have updated their fraudulent schemes, moving away from traditional lottery and charity phishing emails to more sophisticated scams in India. These include posing as employees of multinational corporations (MNCs), offering fake investments in herbal seed businesses, and pretending to facilitate the transfer of foreign funds. The tactics employed by these Nigerian groups have evolved significantly, signaling a departure from their previous methods.

These scammers now exploit social media platforms like Facebook to lure their targets. By assuming the identities of diplomats, executives of MNCs, or female officials from large companies, they convince individuals to pour money into nonexistent global projects.

The police have uncovered various cybercriminal networks engaged in a scam centered on the procurement of seeds believed to possess medicinal qualities capable of curing diseases like cancer.

“These operations do not follow a single script. The fraudsters craft their approach based on the target’s online profile. Victims are approached as if they were being contacted by a representative of an overseas pharmaceutical firm looking to acquire herbal seeds from local sources. This is done through an intermediary involved in the herbal seed scam. The fraudsters promise significant profits in return for advance payments to the agent for the seeds, only to disappear with the funds,” explained Prof Triveni Singh, a former IPS officer and cybersecurity expert.

The police report that the fraudsters have developed a new tactic where they pretend to be diplomats or MNC executives, working alongside local youths to help with the operational aspects of their scheme.

The authorities note that an increasing number of well-educated individuals are being ensnared by these scams, driven by the allure of quick financial gains.

“The incidence of Nigerian scams has surged, largely due to the temptation of easy money. It’s disheartening to witness educated people getting duped by such frauds. Despite ongoing efforts to raise awareness about these scams, the problem persists,” Singh remarked.

He further mentioned that these gangs employ virtual number generators, enabling them to make calls that appear to originate from abroad, thus convincing recipients of the international legitimacy of their propositions.

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