A gang in Punjab’s Mansa district has cheated Flipkart of at least Rs 25 lakh by exploiting the easy-return policy of the leading e-commerce portal, police have said.
The gang would order expensive mobile phones and when they were delivered, it would call up the company to complain about quality issues. The gang includes a mobile phone retailer and a SIM card seller who created fake email IDs and ordered phones from the company.
They would hand over fake mobile phones in the original box of the product to the representatives sent to collect these handsets. The money paid through different banks would come back to their accounts even before the phone reached the dealer.
“Whenever a customer contacts us to return any item, we credit the money into his account immediately and check the item later when it gets to us within a week. In this case, a number of complaints from the same area prompted us to call the Mansa cops,” Flipkart deputy general manager Manoj Chaudhary said.
Mansa police have arrested five people under sections 420 (cheating), 465 (punishment for forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using a forged item as genuine) and 120-B (punishment for criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.
“Accused Suresh Kumar, Gagandeep Singh, Yadvendra Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Sandeep Singh used to book orders online and return goods on delivery after replacing them with fakes,” station house officer (SHO) Harpal Singh said.
Police claim to have recovered Rs 17 lakh in cash, 10 handsets and a laptop from the gang. They say the fraud might run into more than Rs 1 crore “once we track all the mobile phones that the gang has sold further”.
“The accused, so far, have accepted to making at least Rs 80 lakh in the swindle,” SHO Harvinder Singh Sra, who is part of the investigation team, said.
A local court has remanded all the accused in police custody for five days.