THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Did a used mobile or gadget at unbelievable prices catch your eye while surfing portals? Think twice. It could be stolen stuff. Chances are you could be inviting trouble online! According to the police, thieves are exploiting online sales portals such as OLX to sell stolen goods.
Many people fall into the trap of sellers without checking the authenticity. Though this online fraud is widespread in the northern part of the country, a handful of crimes have been reported in the state too. The reports said the fraudsters’ prime targets in the state are gadget freaks who buy used mobile phones regularly based on the technology upgrade.
The police said the cyber thieves use the web spectrum as a safe haven to sell the stolen mobile phones.
For instance, if a person wants to sell a stolen product they procure a fresh SIM and provide the new number for contact on the OLX site.
Once the deal is over, they destroy the SIM card and throw it away.
Since they are using fake identities, the buyers cannot identify them, the police said. A police officer attached to the state hi-tech cell said “to sell anything through these websites all you need is to have an email ID and phone number. They will post your ad with photographs. There is no procedure to keep track of customers selling multiple items.”
Cyberdome, the IT research centre of the Kerala Police, has started efforts to track such transactions. Thiruvananthapuram range IG Manoj Abraham, who is also the nodal officer of Cyberdome, told ‘Express’ a dedicated team has begun the process of building a database to track the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers of stolen mobile phones being sold through OLX.
“Mostly, stolen mobile phones are being sold through OLX. So an online surveillance is on to track the numbers to check whether the goods are stolen or not. As a first step, the database building process is progressing. Similarly, we have also started an online awareness campaign for the public to be cautious about such frauds,” Abraham said.
He said the buyers should check the authenticity of the seller when he sells a particular product with very low price adding the awareness of the buyers will be made through Facebook and Twitter.
Meanwhile, the police have already communicated to the management of OLX through e-mail they should post advisory on their portal to make the buyers aware of the fraud. OLX also displays safety tips on their portal to verify the credentials of the seller and buyers should be cautious about ‘unrealistic offers’.