Looking for bungalows on social media for a trip? Beware of cyber frauds!

Mumbai: Planning an overnight trip, looking for bungalows on social media? Beware. Social media is flooded with photographs of lucrative properties which also sound affordable, but there are high chances that these properties don’t exist at all. A graphic designer from Malabar Hill area learnt her lesson when a cyber fraudster duped her to the tune of Rs 50,000.

Vaibhavi Bhimani resident of Malabar Hill area was planning holiday at Lonavala in the last week of June when she was duped by cyber fraudster. According to the police, she was searching for a suitable property on Instagram and found an advertisement of a bungalow located at Kune village in Lonavala. When contacted the person who identified himself as Avinash send her the photograph of the bungalow, and said that he would charge Rs 28,000 per day for eight persons. He reduced the rate by Rs 4,000 after Bhimani said she would not want food. A deal was finalised for Rs 72,000 for three days, and Bhimani paid Rs 30,000 as advance.

On June 19 Bhimani again called him and enquired whether the bungalow was available from 2nd July to 4th July for 25 people. Avinash charged them Rs 45,000 for 25 people and demanded 50 per cent as advance. Bhimani paid him Rs 20,000 as advance, said police.

As per the woman's statement to the police, on Thursday the day of their planned trip, Avinash called her and said that a short circuit in the bungalow and it had damaged the air conditioner, television and refrigerator, and said that there was no electricity. He told Bhimani that it would take four days to restore it.

Avinash assured Bhimani to refund the money, but since them did not answer further calls, states the FIR.

Realising something was amiss, the complainant asked her relative in Lonavala to enquire at the address. When checked he did not find any bungalow at the given address. Realising that they have been cheated the complainant approached Malabar Hill police station and lodged complaint.

“We have registered an offence of online cheating and also added sections of forgery. We are now trying to locate the caller and his account details in which he accepted the money,” said an officer from Malabar Hill police station.

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