A 23-year-old Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) aspirant who was cheated by a caller pretending to be from the ‘UPSC complaint forum’ has claimed he had to wait for nine months for an FIR.
Aamir Shaikh, the son of an autorickshaw driver and a resident of Powai, says he had to make at least 30 rounds of the Powai police station and the Mantralaya before his FIR was registered last week. The incident took place on August 12, when Shaikh applied for the Combined Defence Services (CDS) exams under the UPSC.
At the time, Shaikh had just given his MCom exams from Mumbai university. “I found that the exam centre allotted to me for the CDS exam was outside Mumbai. I did not want to go outside the city, so I searched online to see if there was some UPSC complaint forum,” said Shaikh. After finding such a forum, he filled in a request to get an exam centre in the city.
“Within a few minutes, I got an email signed by one Avneesh, saying they could refund the money I had paid for the form since the centre could not be changed. The mail had an ‘RBI site payment’ link where I was told to fill in my details,” said Shaikh. As soon as he clicked on the RBI link, he received a call from Avneesh.
“He told me to enter my transaction number for the payment I had made earlier. He also told me to put in the transaction details like the debit card number with which I had made the payment. Afterwards, Rs 200 was credited to my account,” Shaikh said. However, this was just the beginning of the fraud.
“Soon, there were multiple transactions debited to my account. It was strange since I did not receive any One Time Password (OTD), which is normally the case. I kept calling my bank customer service number but it remained busy. Eventually, I lost Rs 19,500 from my account. I realised it was a fraud and approached the police,” said Shaikh.
Police sub-inspector TM Garud from Powai police station, who is investigating the case , confirmed Shaikh had approached them in August. Shaikh alleged, “The police would tell me to go and complain to the bank. The bank would ask for a police FIR. Eventually, a lady officer took pity on us and asked the staff to take a written application from me. I then approached Mantralaya, where the Inspector General (Cyber Crime) assured me he would talk to the Powai police,” said Shaikh.
Last week, he received a call from the police. Finally, an FIR under sections of cheating and the Information Technology Act was registered against unidentified persons. Garud said, “There was a delay since Shaikh was lax. After he first approached us, he had to give his exams, so he stopped taking interest in the case. We had to complete investigations and find out details before we could register an FIR.”