Beware of fraud sites selling high-end cars

Sunil Pradhan
Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Strict implementation of ‘KYC’ can curb fraud: Experts

PUNE: In August 2017, 28-year-old Harshawardhan Bhandari was cheated by fraudsters of Rs 86,500 on a popular e-commerce website. The complainant was shown pictures of the car but even after paying, Bhandari did not receive the car. 

Similarly, in March 2018, a 47-year-old man was duped of Rs 2.18 lakh by a trickster on the pretext of giving him possession of a car from Pune airport. The car was bought by him through a popular e-commerce website. A complaint about the fraud was registered at Bharati Vidyapeeth police station by the complainant Manoj Mutha, a resident of Bibvewadi. The unknown fraudster who posted the advertisement regarding the car on February 13 told the victim to collect the car from the cargo of Pune airport. The fraudster made the complainant to transfer the amount through two transactions into his bank account. However, after the transfer was made into his account, the fraudster stopped receiving calls made by the complainant when the latter realised that he was scammed.

While there is no end to the ongoing frauds on such e-commerce platforms, cyber experts have stressed the need for implementing strict KYC (know your customers) norm to reduce such frauds.

Speaking about such frauds, Harold D’Costa, a cyber security expert, said that it was high time that the KYC norms are followed strictly by such platforms. “I recently came across a person who has lost Rs 27 lakh while buying an Audi car through such platforms. The car costs Rs 90 lakh but was offered by the seller in Rs 27 lakh which was a trap. People are losing their hard earned money. People are falling prey to such luring advertisements 

e-commerce platforms. There should be proper authorisation and authenticity of advertisements on these sites,” added D’Costa.

In another such case, a businessman from Mumbai was cheated of Rs 32.5 lakh by an online fraudster when the complainant was trying to buy a Toyota Fortuner car, in December last year. The businessman was attracted by discount offers on the car and so transferred the amount to the fraudster. Later, when the car was not delivered to the victim, he lodged a case of cheating at Chatuhshrungi police station as the fraudster had provided his personal details of Aundh in Pune.

The Cyber Cell of the Pune police has frequently busted such gangs involved in cheating people through this mode. Officials of Cyber Cell said that fraudsters paste fake pictures, morphed documents to trap a buyer. 

“While doing such deals on an e-commerce platform, we are not sure whether we are dealing with a right person or a fraudster and so, we must be extra cautious. Many of these scams are advance fee frauds in which fraudsters demand advance money which a buyer should not pay,” added an official from Cyber Crime Cell.

Speaking on the issue, cyber expert Anil Raj of Cybervault Securities Solutions Private Limited said that currently, there is no way to filter genuine and fake sellers. “However, e-commerce platforms should collect all details of the buyer and seller, verify it and then allow them to use the site. It can happen that the seller is selling fake/stolen material which can land the buyer in trouble,” added Raj.

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