A woman in the city recently filed a complaint with the Central Crime Branch, claiming she had lost ₹30 lakh after investing in an e-commerce portal that purportedly recruited for part-time jobs.
On receiving the complaint, the police investigated and found a number of similar messages from others in the city. Following this, Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal constituted a special team to trace those involved in the fraud.
The police said people were receiving bulk SMSes from unknown numbers offering part-time jobs at leading e-commerce companies. Upon clicking the link in the text message an app would be downloaded to the user’s mobile phone automatically. The scammer would then give instructions through Whatsapp or Telegram on how to use the app.
Upon using the app, the victim will be taken to an online storefront deceptively similar to the respective e-commerce company. They would be instructed to buy and sell products from the site to receive a commission, which will be credited to their account in the app.
A senior police official said the user would not get back the money spent on buying the product even after they make a sale, but the app would display notifications as if the money was credited to the user’s account.
Mr. Jiwal told The Hindu: “We received complaints from the public in this regard and have launched an investigation. We are cautioning people about this investment fraud. They should be more careful with persons who send messages on the pretext of part-time jobs.”
Meanwhile, the Cyber Crime Wing of the State Police has issued an alert on another type of fraud. In this method, orders placed on e-commerce sites are cancelled due to various reasons. The fraudster then collects the customers’ details and contacts them, posing as a representative of the e-commerce website.
The victim will then be told that the order was cancelled due to technical issues, and that he or she could still get the product if they make the payment.
“If the victim accepts the offer, the fraudster will ask them to transfer money through an e-wallet transaction or UPI or through bank transfer to a personal account with a fake name of the e-commerce company. After receiving payment, the fraudster will block the victim’s phone number. No e-commerce site will ask money transfers to any wallet, UPI or bank account,” the alert said.