After two people were arrested last week for cheating people by posting fake advertisements of Harley Davidson bikes on a classifieds website, the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell (CCIC) in Mumbai has learnt the gang had targeted more than 700 people across the country, to the tune of Rs 3.5 crore.
Apart from the two arrested – Harshid Parikh alias Pradeep Khanna, 35, and Digambar Jane alias Vijay Chopra, 29, – the police suspect a woman and a Nigerian national to be involved in the fraud.
The duo was arrested after a victim called up the CCIC on April 21 and narrated how he fell prey to an online advertisement, offering a second-hand Harley Davidson bike at a cheap rate.
Taking suo-motu action, the CCIC registered an FIR and arrested the two from Mira Road. Interrogations revealed the gang has been in the business for the past two years. They would post advertisements offering the bikes, which are normally priced at Rs 8 lakh and above, for around Rs 3 lakh.
“Lovers of imported bikes fell for the offers, and deposited the money as instructed by the ‘foreign national’ whose number was posted with the advertisement. After getting the money, the gang never delivered the bike and cut off all communication with the victim,” a CCIC officer said.
The accused asked for small amounts – Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 – to avoid suspicion, officers said.
“We have found eight banks accounts in and outside the state that the accused were using,” said another officer from the CCIC.
The arrested duo got 8-10% of the money from every fraud and allowed bank accounts in their names to be used for the transactions. “We are on the lookout for the woman and the foreign national, who could be a Nigerian,” the officer said.
Police have seized six mobile phones, eight SIM cards, 20 ATM cards of different banks, three pass books, 347 cheques, forged PAN cards and Election ID cards from the accused.
Accused posted advts of Mercedes and Audi too
To trap more victims, the accused posted advertisements of high-end cars such as Mercedes Benz and Audi too.
Precautions while shopping on online classifieds
- While shopping on classified portals, never take a decision by just seeing the product’s picture online
- Check the background of the seller
- Before depositing the money, inquire with the bank about the account holder
Contact cyber police
Tel: +91 - 022 - 22653714