CHENNAI: Saravanan, a civil engineering graduate from Ramapuram, wouldn’t have lost his hard-earned money, had he not fallen for the ‘lucrative’ offer on high-end gadgets from a ‘customs official’ who got in touch with him through an online classifieds site.
Speaking to ‘Express’, Saravanan said he posted a wanted ad on OLX for an i-Phone, two weeks ago, when a person claiming to be a Customs official contacted him on his mobile.
“When I suspected his identity, he sent me a pic of an ID-card issued by GoI, via WhatsApp, and claimed to be that official. He offered me a Macbook, an Apple laptop, and i-Phones, all for Rs 1.05 lakh, saying these were seized by Customs and would cost a fortune in the open market. After the money was remitted to the bank account he stopped responding to my calls,” said Saravanan.
So did Dr Sunil Kumar of Thousand Lights, who lost Rs 10,000 in his bid to purchase a mobile phone, and Arunothayam of Kilpauk who lost Rs 2 lakh trying to purchase a used sedan which would cost Rs 10 lakh with a dealer.
All these victims had either posted ads or pursued those hosted by OLX and Quikr, both of which cater to online classifieds listings.
Complaints like these were brought to the notice of the City Police Commissioner, who directed the Cyber Crime Cell to get in touch with both websites and other such service providers to set things right, besides creating awareness among netizens.
Subsequently, the Cyber Cell communicated with OLX and Quikr about the frauds, besides calling for a meeting to discuss the steps that could be taken to prevent their users from falling prey to such fraudsters in future.
“These websites have a lengthy disclaimers which clearly insist the buyer to verify the genuineness of the seller and claim that they are not responsible for any loss incurred in using the service of the website. However, their space is being misused by conmen who take the online route to cheat people. Therefore, we have decided to summon their representatives for a meeting to set right a few things which we believe to be within their ambit,” said a senior police official.
“Besides, we have also issued a set of advisories to create awareness among online users how to stay away from fraudsters while accessing online classified websites,” he added.