If you are among those who shop online, the next time you make a purchase on an online auction site (portals where one can buy and sell articles), ensure that you follow the security guidelines no matter how fantastic a deal seems to be.
Dahisar resident Anup Sharma, 26, learnt his mistake the hard way when he lost Rs5,000, the token money he chose to pay to buy a furniture set put up on an online auction site. Two months ago, Sharma, who runs a coaching class, spotted a furniture set put up for sale online by another Dahisar resident, who identified himself as Praveen Chavan.
“I contacted Chavan, went to his flat and sealed the deal for the furniture set and a few appliances for Rs. 17,000,” Sharma said. “He asked me to pay Rs5,000 as token money and requested that I pick up the stuff 10 days later as he was shifting home. I thought it was unlikely that he would disappear with furniture, so I paid up.”
Later, when Chavan stopped answering Sharma’s calls, he went to the flat, but found it locked. Finally, on December 26, Sharma approached the Bandra-Kurla Complex cyber police station.
The Dahisar police will investigate the case with technical support from the cyber police, N More, senior inspector of BKC cyber police said.
Sharma’s lawyer, Aashish Sharma, said: “Chavan continues to advertise the furniture set on the auction site. I suspect he is looking to dupe others too.”
Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime), said: “There’s a trend where cyber fraudsters masquerade as vendors, con people and disappear.”
Cyber expert Vijay Mukhi said online shoppers must be cautious. “When you are buying from a stranger, you have to follow the basic security procedures.” For instance, buyers must check the feedback about the seller from other customers and the product bill. Paying without collecting the product may also be a bad idea.
Asked about the liability of the auction site, a cyber crime officer said: “We contact the site for details such as Internet Protocol address, when the criminal created the account, put up the ad, etc. If it does not have the details, it can be booked for abetting crime,” the officer said. Chavan’s mobile phone remains active, but he did not respond to HT’s calls.