Mumbai crime watch: Trader loses Rs 95,000 in search engine listing fraud

A 66-year-old trader from Gamdevi became a victim of a search engine listing fraud when he went online in search of a courier service contact number. The fraudster, posing as a customer care representative, asked the trader to pay a registration fee of Rs 10 and inturn duped him to the tune of Rs 95,000.

According to the police, the trader had been searching for a courier service provider online and contacted a number he found on a search engine. The person, on the other side, introduced himself as a customer care representative of the courier services. He then sent him a link and asked him for Rs 10 for registration.

Unaware of the fraud, the trader opened the link, filled all the details, including his Unified Payments Interface (UPI) number, and entered the registration amount. As soon as he clicked to proceed, Rs 95,000 was debited from his account in 19 transactions of Rs 5000 each. Realising his mistake, the trader immediately contacted his bank and blocked his card.

Later, he realised that the number he found online apparently did not belong to the courier service provider. He then approached Gamdevi Police Station and registered his complaint.

"We have registered an offence under sections 419 (cheating by personation) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 66c (Identity theft) and 66d (punishment for cheating personation by using a computer resources) of the Information Technology Act. We have written to the mobile service provider for the details of the mobile phone and also sought the account details from the bank, said an officer from Gamdevi Police Station.

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