Cyber Fraud: Trader loses ₹1.5 lakhs to redeem reward points worth ₹75k
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A 44-year-old trader was duped to the tune of ₹1.52 lakh after a woman posing as a bank employee offered him an interest-free withdrawal of Rs 75,000 on his credit card by redeeming the reward points he had earned. The trader shared a six-digit code that he received on the phone and lost ₹1.51 lakh in just 20 minutes in two transactions. The victim then approached Nagpada Police and lodged a complaint against the woman.

The Nagpada-based trader, who deals in plastic pipes and fittings, generally uses credit card for routine purchases at his store as well for his household expenses. On August 5, when the complainant was sitting at home, he received a call at 4.21 pm from a woman, Jhanvi Sharma, who claimed that she was an executive at the bank whose credit card the trader was using. Assuming it to be a routine call for offers, he entertained that call.

The woman told the trader that he has reward points worth ₹7,999, and that he now stands a chance to redeem ₹75,000 by cash withdrawal, that too interest-free. At a time when the Novel coronavirus pandemic induced lockdown has badly hit the small and medium businesses, the trader took her up on the offer and enquired about the procedure to redeem it.

The trader said in his complaint, "Sharma asked me to share a six-digit One Time Password (OTP) to activate the offer on my credit card, which I did so. Subsequently, I received another call from her and she asked for the OTP again, on the pretext of verifying the offer activation, and I obliged by sharing the OTP. Within a few minutes, I noticed two messages from the bank intimating that my credit limit is only ₹43,006, which caught my attention and I checked my phone."

The complainant had received two messages of funds worth ₹75,975 twice, at 4.38 pm and 4.44 pm, making it a total of ₹1,51,950, transferred out of his account. Panicked, the trader immediately approached the bank and learnt that the funds were transferred to the account of Locon Solutions Private Gurgaon Ltd. Subsequently, he then approached Nagpada Police and lodged a complaint against Sharma, where she was booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act. Police are currently investigating the case and no arrests have been made yet.

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