An innocuous search for the customer care number of an e-commerce provider almost cost a woman ₹75,000 and was spared thanks to the timely intervention by the Ernakulam Rural police.
The housewife from Aluva had Googled for the number while looking for a potential offer for smart television during Deepavali. She came across a fake number, which was made to look like that of a popular e-commerce giant.
When contacted, fraudsters convinced her that there was indeed an offer for smart television and asked her to fill a form embedded in a link sent to her. She then received the link appearing to be an authentic one from the e-commerce giant.
She was asked to furnish details, including her bank account number and UPI id, and the woman duly complied. She then received a text message, which she was asked to send to a certain mobile number.
Once she complied, fraudsters reportedly seized control of her bank account. They then made three withdrawals of ₹25,000 each and another account transfer of ₹2,000. Realising her folly, the woman lodged a complaint with the District Police Chief (Ernakulam Rural).
Subsequently, a special squad of the cyber police station launched a probe. It emerged that fraudsters had bought gift vouchers for ₹50,000 from e-commerce portals and made another purchase for ₹25,000.
The investigation team acted swiftly and got the bank account transactions made by fraudsters frozen. Shortly thereafter, the money was credited back to the petitioner’s bank account much to her relief. A north India-based racket was found to be behind the fraud, the police said.
“Internet users should be careful not to walk into such traps. They should be more careful while searching for contact numbers online and verify the numbers before engaging with the parties,” said District Police Chief (Ernakulam Rural) K. Karthik.
The investigation team was led by cyber crime police station Inspector M.B. Latheef and comprised senior civil police officer P.M. Thalhath and civil police officers Vikas Mani and P.S. Ineesh.