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Deception occurs at multiple platforms and online marketing fraud has been one to which many fall victims quite frequently. One such fraud has been busted by the Nagaland Police and two persons from Rajasthan arrested for duping a woman of money in Nagaland.
The two, identified only as Sabir and Shakir (siblings), were captured by a police team from Dimapur in coordination with the Rajasthan Police on June 5 at a village called Jhenjpuri in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.
The Dimapur police PRO said the arrests were made following a two-month long investigation headed by IPS officer (probationer), Amit Nigam.
Briefing the media on June 11 about the case, Nigam said that the duo were operating a marketing racket by posing as used phone sellers on the popular online ‘buy/sell’ OLX platform using fake identities.
The investigation began after a woman from Dimapur filed a police complaint in April this year. Nigam said that the unidentified complainant was conned into paying Rs. 67,400 after she responded to an advertisement on OLX offering to sell a used smartphone.
According to Nigam, the modus operandi was to post ‘for sale’ ads under fictitious identities and extract money from unwary customers.
In this case, they posed as a fictitious army man Vikram Waghmare and even forwarded pictures and personal IDs to the buyer. He said that they provided fake personal credentials over phone to subsequently convince the buyer. After striking the deal, they assured to parcel the product on the condition that the buyer transfers a “token amount” as advance to a given bank account.
Cash transfers were made 5 times to two different bank accounts and each time the buyer was convinced into relenting as the sellers came up with imaginary excuses withholding the shipment. One of the accounts was tracked down to Nuhu, Haryana and the other to Bharatpur in Rajasthan. The victim ended up paying double the initial quoted price of Rs. 34,000 and the phone never reached her.
She eventually approached the police, who used the bank account details and phone numbers to track down the duo in Rajasthan.
Normally stolen identities are used by fraudsters in this kind of online embezzlement, Nigam said. However, it turned out that the duo had used their real identities to acquire the phone numbers used in the conning.
Aided by the bank transaction records and phone tower locations, the search was narrowed down to Jhenjpuri village from where they were arrested at their home on June 5 and brought to Dimapur on June 9. They were charged under relevant sections of the IPC and the IT Act.
In police remand, the interrogation of the duo revealed they have been operating since December 2016.
Meanwhile, Nigam did not rule out the possibility of the duo having employed the same trick to con other victims. He said that police from other states were also likely on the lookout of the duo.
Different police teams were said to have made inquiries, relating to online fraud with suspected origins in Bharatpur district, with the Bharatpur police on various occasions.
Nigam commented, “As for the Nagaland Police, we were able to precisely pinpoint the whereabouts of the suspects.”~MExN
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