‘Fake sites, brand names to lure people’ — how e-commerce ‘fraud’ busted by Delhi Police worked
- The Delhi Police conducted raids in Himachal Pradesh and Delhi before detaining the suspects, Ravi Arora and Dinesh Sharma.
- Thirteen cell phones, three laptops, and ten debit cards were taken during the raid, along with the freezing of bank accounts used to store criminally obtained money.
- Even when clients paid for the items after seeing cheaper costs on fake websites, they never received them.
New Delhi: The cyber unit of the Delhi Police claims to have busted an “India-wide” e-commerce scam that entailed enticing customers to fake websites using well-known brand names and charging them for goods that were never received.
According to reports, the Delhi Police has busted a pan-Indian scam that defrauded customers out of INR 60 lakh by using fake e-commerce websites. IANS reports that the Delhi Police’s Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations (IFSO) division carried out an operation to dismantle the racket.
Following numerous raids in Himachal Pradesh and Delhi, two people, Ravi Arora and Dinesh Sharma, were detained in connection with the case.
Two people were detained in connection with the Rs 60 lakh scam after raids in Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, according to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) K.P.S. Malhotra, who is in charge of the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit, a specialized cell of the Delhi Police’s cybercrime unit that deals with complicated cybercrimes.
The accused, Dinesh Sharma (39) and Ravi Arora (31), both residents of Delhi, were the prime suspects in the case, according to the DCP, who also said that they created websites to imitate popular businesses in order to attract customers.
The DCP was quoted in a press statement as saying, “They made websites, i.e. aggarwalandsons.co.in, hindsolution.in, bansaltraders.com and sunsolar.com and other similar to scam unsuspecting clients.” In order for their fake websites to appear at the top of web searches, the accused allegedly used SEO algorithms.
Customers would visit their websites and discover that the pricing of appliances and other household goods was less expensive there than on other well-known e-commerce sites. Customers would be drawn to them and pay the prices, but despite doing so, they would never receive the goods, according to Malhotra.
In the bust, police seized 10 debit cards, three laptops, and 13 cell phones. The DCP claims that they also froze the bank accounts that were used to store the money obtained through the scheme.
The alleged fraud was discovered after a consumer made a police report, and it occurred as the Delhi High Court heard petitions from several prestigious brands regarding similar crimes. Several companies, including Himalaya, Microsoft, Godrej Properties, Mother Dairy, Amazon, and Bajaj Finance, have requested court orders and legal action to stop this online scam.
According to the press release, the suspected fraud was found when a tricked client complained that an air conditioner he had booked for more than Rs 28,000 on aggarwalandsons.co.in was never delivered. On the website, which he imagined belonged to the well-known Delhi-based business “Aggarwal & Sons,” he placed the order.
When the product didn’t arrive, he tried calling a number indicated on the internet, but when he did, the line was busy.
Taking up the case, the investigators discovered 28 complaints against the same website on the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, a government website where cyber crimes can be recorded, according to DCP Malhotra.
Police were directed to Arora and Sharma by the money trail. In relation to the scam, 10 cases have thus far been filed, according to a news release from the police.
Officially, the police claim to have identified 28 such complaints, but a senior police officer who asked to remain anonymous told ThePrint that the actual number was more like 160, of which 70 were from Delhi alone.
The officer stated that the arrests had been made “two to three days ago.” “We’re searching for one or two more people who are close acquaintances with the accused.”
Why are brands worried
On August 3, the Delhi High Court ordered the IFSO of the Delhi Police to look into charges of e-commerce fraud after grouping 28 petitions brought by various firms.
The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, the Department of telecommunications, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and the National Payments Corporation of India were also required by the court to meet with IFSO in order to improve coordination in such situations. The case will be heard by the court again on August 30.
Edited by Prakriti Arora