Bengaluru: Victim turns investigator, busts online phone scam

A reputed mobile company offers new mobile handsets on zero down payments.

BENGALURU: E-commerce portals have become the favourite hunting ground for criminals. Be it the Colombian gang that broke into many houses in the city or the unidentified people who called techie Kumar Ajitabh to sell his car, the criminals are moving into the cyberspace to hoodwink the police. In one of the rare cases, a youngster from the city turned himself into a cyber-sleuth, caught the online cheat and unravelled a big scam, in which a reputed phone company was being targeted.

K.F. Mohammed Aqib, a resident of K.G. Halli, along with his friend Irfan, exposed the scam, after he was duped by a cyber criminal - identified as Dawood Shafi. When Aquib inserted the SIM card, the phone threw up a message that it was blocked. Aqib first went to the phone company's showroom in Kammanahalli. After talking to the staff, he realised that cheats were buying phones worth '5,000 to 60,000 on easy instalment schemes directly from the company, stopped paying EMIs and sold the phones on e-commerce sites.

Aqib said, "I was cheated on Saturday. The advertisement posted by Dawood Shafi on an e-commerce site stated that the phone was just 25 days old. I and my friend initiated the deal and decided to meet the seller on Sunday morning. He came to meet us, but said that he had lost the bill. When I insisted on the bill, he sought some time and called me after a few hours, saying he had got the bill."
Aqib checked the bill and handed over Rs 11,500 in cash.

"The phone worked properly for some time, but it got blocked soon after. I showed it at a mobile repair shop, but they could not do anything. I tried to call the seller, but he did not answer my calls. I then approached the K.G. Halli police." Aqib learnt that the youth had produced an Aadhar card of a woman from his family. When he checked, he found that the address was wrong. "I wanted to go after the cheat, and posted his photos on the Whatsapp group in the area. The K.G. Halli police too shared his photo on their group. We nailed him after searching for him for seven hours," Aqib said.

How the scam works

A reputed mobile company offers new mobile handsets on zero down payments. The buyer submits his/her Aadhar card and Pan card copies as proof, and pays a month's easy monthly instalment (EMI) to buy the phone. Soon after, he stops paying the EMIs and sells the phone on e-commerce websites. The new buyer cannot use the phone as it works only with the SIM given along with the device. In the scam, both the new buyer and the phone company are cheated, while the scamster goes untraced. The police said that the company should not sell phones on loan without physically enquiring the address given as proof.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story