Mumbai: Gujarat man held for duping 22,000 people of ₹70 lakh through a shopping portal

The Cyber Cell of the Mumbai police has arrested a 32-year-old Gujarat man for allegedly duping customers on the pretext of online shopping. The investigation revealed that the accused identified as Ashish Ahir, 32, has allegedly duped 22,000 people across the country mostly women to the tune of Rs 70 lakh, said police.

According to the police, Ahir has created a shoping portal named 'Shopiiee.com' and claimed to sell women dress materials, imitation jewellery and households items at throw-away prices. The advertisement of the products was generally made on social media, mostly Facebook where customers were lured with lucrative discount offers, said police.

As the customers clicked on links they were directed to the shopping portal where they could buy their desired products. Branded products were offered at a throw-away prices. The customers, mostly attracted due to the lucrative offers ended up paying through online transfer as the portal did not have a cash on delivery option. However, even after paying the money, customer ended up being duped, said police.

According to the police Ahir who is computer expert and studied in London was also a garment dealer however, he ran into debt after suffering heavy losses in business.

According to the police, a customer was allegedly duped in the last week of November after which he approached the cyber cell. Following verification, an offence of online cheating was registered on January 2, this year at BKC cyber police station.

"During the investigation, we traced the accused to Gujarat from where he was arrested with the help of local police. Preliminary investigation revealed that around 22,000 people across the nation have been duped to the tune of Rs 70 lakh through the web portal," said Rashmi Karandikar, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cyber Cell.

"During the interrogation, the accused claimed that several other web sites have been indulging in such malpractices, when we checked customer reviews of those portals, it seemed that they too have been cheated people. These sites are allegedly duping people in connivance with courier companies, added Karandikar.

While warning citizens about sites which claims to offer exiting deals the police have also issued advisory and stressed on using cash on delivery option instead of online payment. The police also suggested usage of officials web sites, secure gateway while making payments and also to check customer reviews while shopping.

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