Jalandhar, June 29
Four days ago, Jalandhar-based resident Pooja Aggarwal (name changed), saw an advertisement for a used Honda Activa on OLX. It was coming cheap at Rs25,000 (negotiable) and the person, who had posted it, under the name of Sahil Kumar, claimed to be from the Indian Army posted at Jalandhar Cantt.
Our firm has been working closely with cyber cells of various states and there has been a spurt in such incidents and a few cases have been reported from Ludhiana and Mohali as well. A proper mechanism is being followed — from forging documents, to creating fake OLX profiles to tele-calling. People must avoid making any advance payments. They should pay only when they receive and examine the product in hand. — Palvinder Singh, CEO, founder, Secuneus Technologies, who deals in cyber security
Pooja contacted Sahil on the number 7735454968, which she took from his OLX profile and he told her that he wanted to sell the scooter as soon as possible, as he was being transferred out of Jalandhar. He also sent a picture of the scooter, his ‘ID card’ and other documents to authenticate his credibility (snapshots of his OLX profile, chat, and documents are in possession of The Tribune).
Convinced by his picture in uniform, Pooja agreed to buy the scooter and Sahil asked her to pay Rs3,000 as ‘security deposit’ and assured her that once he receives the security amount, he would courier the scooter to Pooja’s residence within an hour.
Pooja agreed to this and made a payment of Rs3,000 via Google Pay. On receiving the amount, Sahil, via WhatsApp, sent a photo of the receipt of Rs3,000 to her. The receipt was issued under the name ‘Veer Bharat Senani’ and contact number which has been mentioned above and an additional delivery boy’s number — 7988597960 — were printed on it, along with other particulars of the sender.
Later Sahil, on the pretext that security amount has been increased by the Army wing, again asked for Rs2,000 from Pooja, and said if she fails to deposit that amount, she would lose her Rs3,000 as well. Likewise, both Sahil and the “delivery boy” kept doing so and duped her of Rs20,000 eventually.
Meanwhile, when Pooja realised that this was no genuine deal, she threatened that she would report it to the police. However, what came as more shocking was that the “delivery boy” in reply asked her if she required any help in reporting to the police. He said no matter whom she reports, their identity would never be revealed.
In yet another incident, Chetan Saluja, a photographer from the city, encountered a similar incident 10 days ago, wherein a person imposing as an Air Force officer posted an advertisement selling a professional camera for Rs32,500 only. However, his smartness at the time of making the deal saved him from becoming a prey to these fraudsters. He just lost Rs500 and soon figured out that the person in the ID was an imposter.
When contacted, Palvinder Singh, CEO and founder of Secuneus Technologies, which deals in cyber security, said: “These OLX frauds were first reported in Rajasthan and Odisha among other states and a few gangs involved in this were also busted. But, it seems it’s a big racket involving hundreds of people from across the nation.”
Meanwhile, in-charge, cyber crime cell, Jalandhar, Monika, said: “Such OLX frauds have been taking place since long. Two years back, there were a number of complaints regarding this. We also busted a few people involved in this crime, but recently no such complaints have been received. People must remain alert.”
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