MUMBAI: Dr. Prabhat Shah, a 52-year-old Mumbai-based doctor, found himself ensnared in a cyber fraud incident, losing a substantial sum of over Rs 5 lakh. The unfortunate incident unfolded when Dr. Shah attempted to purchase a car from an individual posing as a bank recovery agent.
The deceptive scheme involved an enticing advertisement on Facebook, promising an auction of seized properties from a nationalised bank’s defaulters.
The ad, featuring a Fortuner E4 listed at a mere Rs19 lakh, caught Dr. Shah’s attention on October 24. Eager to capitalize on the seemingly lucrative opportunity, he promptly contacted the provided number to express his interest in the advertised vehicle.
Dr. Shah, enticed by the offer, promptly contacted the provided number on October 24. The individual on the line purported to be a recovery credit manager from a Solapur-based bank, coincidentally where the desired vehicle was allegedly located.
The Illusion of Legitimacy
Trusting the authenticity of the deal, Dr. Shah willingly provided all requested documentation, including sensitive personal information such as his Aadhar card, PAN card, and bank statements.
An official-looking email further cemented the illusion, confirming the progress of the deal and detailing the advance payment required.
Without suspicion, Dr. Shah transferred a substantial sum of Rs 5.87 lakh to the specified bank account, anticipating the acquisition of his dream car.
The Disheartening Discovery
However, optimism quickly turned to dismay as Dr. Shah embarked on a trip to Solapur to claim his purchase. To his shock, the address provided turned out to be nonexistent, and attempts to contact the purported agent yielded nothing but disconnected phone lines.
Realizing the magnitude of the deception, Dr. Shah promptly reported the incident to the Kandivali police, seeking justice against the fraudulent individual who had vanished without a trace.
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Legal Pursuits and Preventive Measures
The Kandivali police swiftly responded to Dr. Shah’s complaint, registering a case against the unidentified perpetrator under sections 419 (cheating by personation) and 420 (cheating and dishonesty) of the Indian Penal Code, in addition to relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.
This unfortunate incident serves as a stark reminder of the ever-present threat of cyber fraud and emphasizes the critical importance of vigilance in online transactions. Authorities urge citizens to exercise caution, verify the legitimacy of deals, and refrain from sharing sensitive information without thorough verification.
As Dr. Shah recuperates from this distressing experience, efforts are underway to track down the elusive fraudster and bring them to justice, offering hope for justice and reparation for the victim of this deceitful scheme.