Mumbai Crime: Actor Priya Banerjee loses Rs 35,000 while buying liquor online, cops recover amount in 2 hours

Updated: Dec 19, 2019, 08:58 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

Khar cops save Rs 35,000 of actor who was conned by fraudsters exploiting Google listings, say conmen have to be stopped before they spend all the money on online shopping.

Priya Banerjee
Priya Banerjee

Almost 100 incidents of online liquor fraud reported over the past six months have prompted the city police to keep a hawk-eye on such cases. The cops have become so well-drilled and vigilant that on December 15, within two hours of model and actor Priya Banerjee reporting one such case, the Khar police froze the fraudulent accounts and blocked Rs 35,000, which she had lost while trying to buy alcohol online.

According to the police, most of the liquor fraud cases were reported from the western part of the city – Bandra, Khar, Santacruz and Juhu – following which additional commissioner Manoj Kumar Sharma formed a special team to nab the fraudsters cheating people on the promise of delivering liquor purchased online. They somehow manage to change the contact details of liquor delivery shops on the Google search engine and get people to share their card details and OTPs. In fact, the cybercops have written a letter to Google asking them to remove all such contacts available on their browser.

On December 15, after placing an order for booze, Banerjee agreed to make an online payment. The fraudster asked her to share her card details and the OTP. "I was unaware of the liquor fraud cases and shared my card details along with the OTP. Within seconds I got an SMS from the bank saying that Rs 23,000 has been debited from my account. I immediately called the person and asked him about the debited amount. He apologised for the inconvenience caused and shared a refund barcode on Google Pay and asked me to scan it. On doing this I lost another Rs 12,000," Banerjee said.

Priya BanerjeePriya Banerjee

"I got panicked and called him again but this time he abused me and disconnected the call. I approached the Khar police around 8:30 pm and explained the sequence of events to PSI Sachin Trimukhe and Sanja Zarda, who then acted promptly to get the accounts, where the money was transferred, blocked," she added.

"We immediately contacted the nodal officers of the bank and e-wallets to get the accounts, where the money was transferred, blocked. But this can be done only if the complainant approaches us quickly and the fraudsters haven't withdrawn the money from the beneficiary accounts," said Sandip Patil, PI (Crime). Police said that the accounts had been frozen and the complainant would soon get a refund.

Requesting anonymity, another officer said, "The fraudsters who have been targeting innocent citizens are very tech-savvy and they operate from unknown locations. Once the money gets debited, they start shopping online. The first two hours are very crucial in these cases. Once the money is withdrawn or spent on online shopping, it becomes very difficult to block the accounts."

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