Mumbai Crime: Man dials 'BMC helpline' listed on Google to file complaint, loses Rs 25,000
Another costly example of why you should never trust phone numbers for services you get on Google search engines.
In yet another case of online fraud related to animal services listed on Google's search engine, a 26-year-old Sakinaka resident, who wished to complain about stray dogs, ended up losing Rs 25,000 after he called on what was supposedly the civic body's helpline. Vinod Patel was asked to pay a Rs 10-fee to register his complaint before his account was debited.
In a similar incident from October, a college student was duped of Rs 37,000 when she called an 'NGO' whose contact she found through Google search.
Patel, who works at a garment company in Jogeshwari, told mid-day that several stray dogs near his company are a noisy nuisance. "Intending to complain about them, I googled the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) helpline number for stray dogs and called on one of the numbers from the result on November 25," he said.
"The person on the other side, posing as a BMC official, asked me to first pay a Rs 10 registration fee. The 'official' cited thousands of 'fake calls' behind the charging of the fee," Patel said.
Patel made the payment through Paytm on the provided number and received an SMS for what was supposedly his complaint number. The 'official' asked Patel to share this complaint number.
"However, a few minutes later, I received an alert of Rs 25,000 being withdrawn from my bank account, which was linked to my Paytm account. The number received through SMS was actually an OTP used by the scammer to get the money," he said.
Jogeshwari police have registered a case under Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the IT Act.
In the previous case reported by mid-day on October 26, BMM student Raksha Agarwal from Nallasopara suffered similarly when she sought to help a stray dog and her puppies who were being troubled by other stray dogs.
Day when incident took place
Registration fee asked by scammer
Amount lost to scammer
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