The Cyber cell of Pune Police have busted an ‘online shopping racket’ involving a Delhi-based group which used to cheat unsuspecting individuals to the tune of lakhs of rupees after promising them expensive free gifts.
The cell started investigating the online portal shopittoday.com after a Paud Road resident registered a complaint against the portal alleging that he was cheated by them to the tune of Rs 4.68 lakh after promising him a Canon D70 camera and cash rewards.
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Sleuths of Pune Cyber Cell raided an office and call centre allegedly run by the company and arrested five persons including two directors of the firm. Police said that the account details of the firm showed that the group may have cheated people from across three to four states to the tune of Rs 9 crores.
As per a complaint filed by Pankaj Modani, (38) resident of Paud Road, Kothrud, he had received several calls from landline numbers between October 2015 to March 2016 in which callers, identifying themselves as executives from shopittoday.com, informed him that he he was selected as a lucky customer and he would get any free gift of his choice and have to only pay Value Added Tax (VAT) for the gift.
“Modani chose a camera as his free gift. However, the conmen told him to pay Rs 6,68,414 lakh as No Objection Certificate (NOC) charges, VAT, refundable service tax and refundable deposit among other things. Needless to say that he did not get any camera or any other cash benefits,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Deepak Sakore.
After receiving this complaint, a team of Cyber Crime Branch visited Delhi and raided a call centre of the firm in question in Karkarduma Community Centre. The employees informed the police that the company made money by luring unsuspecting individuals to deposit money into the firm’s account after promising them free expensive gifts like mobile phones, cameras and TVs among other things.
“The firm employed 10 individuals as Sales Executives at the BPO who used to call up the prospective clients and lure them by falsely telling them that they have won a free gift. The company obtained data of customers of various telecom companies from firms that sell such data. To win over the client’s confidence, the firm provided them with free gifts like watches and pens at the commencement of the relationship. Later they were cheated after being asked to deposit a large sum of money to claim their free gift,” said Assistant Police Inspector Girisha Nimbalkar of Cyber Crime Cell.
Those arrested have been identified as Anujkumar Tiwari (35), Vikas Ravat (24), Devsingh Gautam( 23), Pavan Mishra and Sanikumar Chand, all residents of Delhi. Police have seized equipment such as laptom, walkie-talkie and documents that were used to cheat the victims. Police have also seized as many as 15 cheque-books of various banks.
“Prime facie the information obtained from the bank records show that this group cheated individuals to the tune of Rs 9 crore. Money came from bank accounts in Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur in Maharashtra and many other cities across the country,” said C H Wakade, additional commissioner of police.
The five arrested have been booked under sections 406,419,420 and 34 of Indian Penal Code.