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Woman tries to order Rs 550 whiskey bottle online, loses Rs 5.35 lakh

A woman in Mumbai who tried to place an online order for a whiskey bottle worth Rs 550 from a shop ended up paying Rs 5.35 lakh to cyber-fraudsters impersonating its employees and tricked her into sending the money to them.

An FIR was registered on August 10 by the MHB Colony police station in Borivali (West) after she lodged a complaint. The woman told the police that she wanted a bottle of whiskey for cake decoration and searched for the phone number of Silver Wines shop in Dahisar on August 9.

The complainant found a fake mobile number of the shop uploaded by a cyber-fraudster. She called on the number and the fraudster impersonating an employee of the shop said they had closed for the day but they could make a home delivery in 10 minutes.

The complainant agreed and he sent her a QR code for payment and she paid Rs 550 using an e-wallet. After paying the money, he said another person will call her to make the delivery. A second fraudster then called her and said she will have to register herself for receiving the delivery.

The woman told this person she does not want to register and called up the first person who said registration was compulsory and disconnected the call. The woman again received a phone call from the second fraudster who said her receipt number is 19051 and asked her to fill it up in the amount section while making the payment. The woman followed the instructions and Rs 19,051 was debited from her account.

The woman confronted the fraudster who told her there was a technical error and to reverse the payment she will have to make the transaction again. The woman paid Rs 38,102 to the fraudster and later asked him to return it. The fraudster then made up another excuse and made her transfer another Rs 38,102 in order to refund the earlier amount. She paid a total of Rs 76,754.

The fraudster then said he was trying to return the entire amount but said there was some technical error and asked her to share her debit card details. He then asked her to increase the amount limit for the card and she did. The fraudster then used her debit card details to withdraw around Rs 2 lakh. In order to return the entire amount, the fraudster tricked her into depositing another Rs 2 lakh. In all the woman ended up losing Rs 5.35 lakh in three hours. She then approached the police.

Cyber-fraudsters have been uploading their own numbers as those of various commercial establishments like wine shops, cake shops, restaurants etc. and helpline services or businesses like courier services, online shopping portal, bank customer services etc and have duped thousands of people over the past few years.

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