Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s daughter, Harshita Kejriwal was recently swindled of Rs 34,000 by an online scammer, where she tried to sell an old sofa set on an online marketplace, OLX. An interested buyer approached her on the platform and negotiated a deal by sending her a QR code and asked her to scan it in order to receive the amount. Initially, he transferred a nominal amount in her account to establish trust and then debited Rs.34,000 in two instalments.
It is really fascinating, how these impostors exploit the lack of technical know-how about UPI among the common man to their advantage. The bigger concern is even celebrities and their kids cannot escape this fire of frauds.
Let me walk you through such huge scams, where top celebrities from Robert De Niro to Dilip Kumar got defrauded.
"They cheated us after providing false documents," Banu said at the time.
In 2015, Dilip Kumar got conned by a production house that promised him a sponsorship his biography launch in 2014. The actor and his wife were approached by the owners of a production house, named Rahulikar and Anand, who offered to get sponsorship of Rs 5 crore for his book event.
At the time of the discussions, they had also shown agreements signed by three sponsors and displayed a cheque of Rs 4 crore. Post-event, the celebrity couple learned that the sponsors had never signed any contracts, which meant that Kumar and Banu didn't see the promised 5 crore sum either.
Karan Singh Grover
Bollywood actor fell prey to the notorious Nigerian online lottery scam. He received an email informing him that he had won a gigantic lottery and was required to deposit Rs 5.5 lakh as a processing fee to claim his winning prize money. After making the said payment, Grover didn't receive the prize money promised to him and in fact, was asked to further pay Rs 12 lakh to get the money.
The Alone actor grew sceptical and recontacted the people and never got a reply. Henceforth, he lodged a police complaint with Mumbai police.
A Bengali couple Satyabrata and Shona Chakrabarti duped him of Rs 50 lakh. One of the biggest investment rackets in the 2010s.
The Dil Chahta Hai actor alleged that the Chakrabarti's asked the actor to invest his money in their company Intex Immijet Private Limited, which dealt in the commodity market, promising to double his investment in a year. Khanna waited for two years to get returns on his investment but the duo kept postponing the payment and ignoring his calls. He lodged a police complaint but never got his money back.
Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro doesn’t just create art onscreen; he’s a child of the arts too. Unfortunately, shady art dealer Lawrence Salander went behind De Niro’s back to sell a collection of paintings created by the actor’s late father. De Niro lost over $1 million on the deal, but Salander’s artful scam bled other A-listers — including tennis champ John McEnroe — for $120 million total. Salander was sentenced in 2010 to six to 18 years in prison, according to The New York Times.
Kenneth Starr, the manager of big stars like Uma Thurman, ran a scheme netting himself more than $30 million from 2005 until he was caught in 2010. He siphoned off millions from his client's accounts till director Mike Nichols got suspicious and chose to get out of the scheme early. Pulp Fiction actress Uma Thurman who noticed a million dollars missing from her account browbeat Starr until he returned her money. But others weren't so lucky and Starr was sentenced and asked to repay more than $29 million and serve up to seven and a half years in prison.
Bollywood Director Rakesh Roshan paid a "huge amount" of money to a guy named Ranjan over his demand. Ranjan's accomplice Kumar allegedly impersonated as an officer of the Central probe agency and extorted money from Roshan. He (Kumar) was introduced as a CBI officer to Roshan by Ranjan. Kumar demanded money from the filmmaker and threatened that if his demand was not met, his entire family, including actor-son Hrithik and the latter's wife Suzanne, would be arrested.
Suspecting something fishy, Roshan approached CBI, which then nabbed Ranjan after which Kumar's phone was put under surveillance and he was traced to Panipat from where he was arrested.
The actor was duped of almost Rs 6 lakh via an online credit card fraud. The actor who is a US citizen came to know about this only after her card giving bank (Kotak Mahindra Bank) sent a notification of a transaction. Reports suggest that the money was siphoned off in a period of four and a half hours via 14 transactions amounting to $9062. Fakhri filed a police complaint immediately. The police, however, claimed that fraudsters first copied all information and made a clone credit card under Fakhri's name and then used it to withdraw money. It is still unknown if the crime happened in India or abroad but since the transaction happened in the US Dollars the police allege that the crime was committed in the United States.
The onscreen Wolf of the Wall Street was swindled by Dana Giacchetto, who was known as a stockbroker to the stars. Mr Giacchetto scammed his clients out of between $5 million to $10 million.
In September 2020, Kapil Sharma had filed a complaint with the economic offences wing (EOW) alleging that he had ordered a customized vanity van in 2017 and paid Chhabria Rs 5.7 crore. However, the van was never delivered. Sharma also alleged that Chhabria kept demanding more money.
Kumar Mangalam Birla
This billionaire the business tycoon was a victim of credit card fraud in 2011. The chairman of the multi-billion Aditya Birla Group registered an FIR in Mumbai, after he received his monthly account statement, showing unknown transactions for jewellery and electronic gadgets worth Rs 2.68 lakh. Fortunately, the fraudsters were identified and loss recovered but created a big buzz.
Are you wondering, if renowned people are not immune to these scams, how will the common man evade them? Prevention is the key! Vouch can be your saviour when it comes to payments!