On the online classifieds site OLX, at least 37 people are said to have fallen for scams perpetrated by con artists using stolen IDs from the CISF and the Army, as well as fake copies of Aadhaar.
The CISF and Army headquarters have received a deluge of calls and complaint emails over the past two days, some of which contain blistering criticism of the men in uniform and accuse their employees of defrauding OLX users.
According to authorities in the CISF and Army headquarters, while the majority of the cases were reported from Rajasthan, a small number of them also occurred in Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh.
According to an internal investigation conducted by the CISF, Constable Shrikant shared a copy of his Aadhaar card with a man named Abhishek Srigul, who had identified himself as a police constable from Maharashtra, according to the CISF.
He paid Srigul Rs. 23,000 for a phone but never received it; as a result, he complained to the Vakola Police station and the Cyber City Police station in BKC in Mumbai.
"It was discovered that the constable, who had been receiving abusive correspondence, was also a victim." He had given the merchant access to his Aadhaar card, which was later exploited, a CISF official claimed.
Further investigation revealed that the con artists had been utilizing various ID documents, including numerous defense personnel's Aadhaar cards, to defraud individuals online, the officer continued.
Army HQ also notified
According to him, one of the incidents included the leak from a travel agency of a copy of an army soldier's Aadhaar card.
After a complaint was received to Army headquarters regarding an Army employee named Vikram Waghmare, the defence ministry was also alerted. According to the allegation, the employee agreed to sell his iPhone 6S for Rs 16,000, an officer stated.
"After that, he demanded upfront payment in full." The con artist uploaded his I-card and Aadhaar cards with his photo in an Army uniform on WhatsApp in an effort to win the victim's faith. The buyer sent the money in good faith, believing that he was dealing with an Army officer, but suddenly the seller's phone went off," the Army officer continued."
Another incident involved a guy who pretended to be an Army officer and offered to sell his Swift car in exchange for a large sum of money, the officer claimed.
The officer stated, "We feel this is a part of a broader racket and we have brought this to the attention of investigating agencies."
Similar complaints soon poured in, so CISF went to OLX and requested that it block any accounts that had been falsely created in its employees' names.
"I'm writing to let you know that someone has been tricking folks by posting adverts for iPhone sales on OLX under the guise of Shrikant of the CISF. The message instructed you to block the user account Shrikant.
According to OLX, the accounts that were created to conduct fraudulent transactions have been blocked.
Mode of operation
According to reports, some scammers registered for an account on OLX using soft copies of identity cards from the military and Aadhaar to advertise a variety of items for sale, including a car and a mobile phone.
The con artists convinced the clients they were from the Army or CISF and wanted to sell their phone or car since they had been moved to another state when the clients contacted them on OLX chat. Once the payment had been received, they would turn off their phones. They would then ask the customer to pay a 50% advance for the product via Paytm.
These complaints have now been delivered to the relevant police stations for additional inquiry.
Frauds over OLX
More than 4000 cases of fraud were reported over the last year amongst which in maximum cases the conmen posed as army officials. In a lot of cases, the victims were unable to get the lost money back.
How do they win trust? - AADHAR and ID CARDS
Maximum of scammers over the internet who pose as army officials have fake identity proofs such as Aadhar cards. They often send pictures of their fake Aadhar to the victims to win their trust and in maximum cases, they succeed.
What to do if you get a call from such a scammer?
Check back here for more fraud chronicles and scams that you can protect yourself from.
Safety is not just about protecting your credit or debit card number. It's about having control of your money till you've received the product or service you bought online!
Note: This is a good-faith initiative to educate the world about how to avoid frauds like these. Do you have a fraud that you would like to report? Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org