While scammers are already known to exploit platforms like Paytm, Olx, Quikr among others, in a strange incident, a flat-owner got cheated after he posted an ad of his flat for rent on MagicBricks — a popular property website.
The victim — Rajeev Sharma, a resident of Jaipur, found himself in a scam after an imposter, masquerading as an army officer, connected with him through MagicBricks and scammed him out of almost a month’s worth of deposit.
News18 Tech reached out to the victim to learn about how the peculiar sequence of events unfolded. Rajeev Sharma, who resides in Jaipur, Rajasthan, said, “I wanted to rent out my 3BHK flat, but I was tired of real estate dealers and chose to list my flat on MagicBricks.”
Numerous inquiries poured in, yet one particular offer stood out from the rest. A person named Deepak Pawar, who called himself a CISF officer, readily accepted the requested monthly rent of Rs 25,000 without any negotiations.
“He used two numbers – +91 7008346845 and +91 9124367583 to get in touch with me,” said the victim.
Subsequently, the fake CISF officer requested Rajeev Sharma’s banking details to enable the transfer of three months’ worth of advance rent, totaling Rs 75,000.
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In an attempt to establish the legitimacy of his claims, the scammer furnished the victim with multiple Aadhar cards, some featuring individuals supposedly of superior rank, as well as other defence-related identification documents, including canteen smartcards.
Convinced of the authenticity of the so-called CISF officer, Rajeev Sharma shared his banking details. Now, the mistake that the victim made in this case was that instead of handling the transaction himself, he passed on the phone number of his teenage daughter, who is in 10th class, to coordinate with the ‘fake CISF officer’ as Sharma himself got busy with his job.
The scammer connected with the daughter as told by the victim and manipulated her into initiating a transfer of funds, rather than receiving them.
The school-going daughter, unfamiliar with how the ICICI mobile banking application worked, entered the scammer’s banking details into the app—set to send Rs 75,000.
But thankfully, the ICICI account, which belongs to her elder sister, who is pursuing MBBS, only had Rs 8,500 as balance. After the transaction failed, the scammers tricked the girl and guided her to send Rs 8,500 to their HDFC account.
Upon realising what had happened, it was already too late. Rs 8,500 had been deducted from the victim’s account, but determined to confront the scammer, Rajeev and his daughter reached out to the scammer, only to fall victim once again to his manipulation.
The scammer insisted that, due to alleged “limitations on his merchant account,” she would need to send more funds to make his account “eligible for transmitting the promised security deposit of Rs 75,000.” Once again falling prey, she borrowed Rs 8,500 from her mother, resulting in a cumulative sum of Rs 17,000 transferred to the scammer.
After the family discovered the scam, they failed to reach out to the fraudster. They filed a complaint on the Cyber Crime portal and are now waiting for an investigation.
Similar incidents have been reported before, where people selling items online are contacted by fake army officers who request to send payments without meeting in person. But instead of sending money, they generate UPI requests.