MUMBAI: In a distressing incident, a 72-year-old businessman residing in Andheri, Mumbai, was swindled out of Rs 1.38 lakh by cyber fraudsters when attempting to buy sweets online for the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. The unsuspecting septuagenarian was led astray by cunning trickery, causing substantial financial loss.
A Sweet Gesture Gone Awry
The victim, residing in Oshiwara with his wife, had desired to offer sweets to Lord Ganpati on the festive day. The day before the celebration, he sought the contact information for Tiwari Mithaiwala in Juhu through a popular search engine, Google. He discovered a mobile number and promptly placed an order for the desired sweets, transferring a total of Rs 3,775 through two transactions, securing a scheduled delivery for the following Sunday.
However, when the sweets failed to arrive on the expected day, the worried complainant contacted the given number again. To his dismay, the person at the other end claimed that the order hadn’t been confirmed and instructed the senior citizen to reorder. Falling victim to this deceit, the complainant proceeded to send an additional Rs 29,875 via Google Pay as directed by the fraudster.
The scammer cunningly persuaded the elderly gentleman that the amount sent was merely a code, assuring him that no monetary deductions would occur. Exploiting this trust, the fraudster then concocted a story of a supposed system error, prompting the complainant to input the code, effectively transferring the amount to the criminal’s account.
A Costly Quest for Refund
Subsequently, the complainant sought help from a friend, a 74-year-old resident of Versova, who transferred Rs 45,000 to verify the account and initiate a refund. Regrettably, this sum was never reimbursed. The scammer, in an attempt to establish credibility, sent a small amount of Rs 50 to the friend, creating an illusion of the refund process activation.
Unmasking the Culprit
The truth came to light when the complainant’s friend visited Tiwari Mithaiwala in person, only to discover that the sweet shop did not process online orders. Shocked and realizing they had been duped, the senior citizens reported the incident to the Oshiwara police, filing a complaint against the unidentified scammer.
Pursuit of Justice
The Oshiwara police have taken swift action, booking the accused under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act. Additionally, they have contacted service providers, seeking crucial details pertaining to the mobile numbers, bank accounts, and UPI IDs involved in this despicable crime.
This unfortunate incident serves as a grim reminder for citizens to exercise caution and due diligence while conducting financial transactions online, especially during festive times when fraudsters may attempt to exploit the spirit of celebration for their malicious intentions.
Preventive Measures to Avoid Online Scams:
- Verify Legitimacy: Always ensure the authenticity of the online seller or service provider. Double-check contact details, reviews, and official websites before making any transactions.
- Use Trusted Platforms: Utilize reputable and established online platforms for purchases, payments, and transactions. Avoid random numbers or suspicious links provided by unknown individuals.
- Be Wary of Unsolicited Communication: Do not respond to unsolicited emails, messages, or calls requesting personal or financial information. Legitimate businesses won’t ask for sensitive data out of the blue.
- Educate and Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about common scam tactics and educate family and friends, especially the elderly, on potential online threats and how to recognize them.
- Secure Payment Methods: Use secure and verified payment gateways or apps. Avoid sharing UPI PINs, OTPs, or any sensitive financial details with unknown individuals.
- A 72-year-old Mumbai businessman loses Rs 1.38 lakh to cyber fraudsters while attempting to buy Ganesh Chaturthi sweets online.
- The victim placed an order with a supposed sweet shop, transferring Rs 3,775 initially and an additional Rs 29,875 as directed by the scammer.
- The fraudster deceived the victim into believing the funds sent were merely a code, ultimately transferring a significant amount from the victim’s account.
- Seeking assistance, the victim’s friend also fell prey, transferring Rs 45,000 for a promised refund, which never materialized.
- The fraud was exposed when the victims visited the supposed sweet shop, only to discover they had been scammed.
- Oshiwara police swiftly acted, booking the fraudster under relevant sections of the law and initiating an investigation.
- Authorities have contacted service providers to obtain critical details related to the fraudulent mobile numbers, bank accounts, and UPI IDs used in the scam.
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