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Kolkatans lose money through QR fraud in online sale

‘Prospective buyers’ ask for money with false payback promise

Monalisa Chaudhuri | Published 13.08.22, 07:59 AM

Beware if you want to sell anything through an online portal. Fraudsters have found a new way to dupe such people by sending QR codes for payment, police said. 

Atul Chaturvedi, a resident of Ballygunge in south Kolkata, who wanted to sell a piece of furniture, had recently posted its photographs on a portal. Within two hours of posting the photographs, he received a call from a person who introduced himself as a prospective buyer and offered to pay the price of Rs 12,000 online. 

“Once I agreed to accept the payment online, he asked for my e-wallet details and sent me Re 1, apparently to check whether the details were correct. I received the money and acknowledged it. Then he sent me a QR code and asked me to scan the code and transfer Rs 12,000, saying he would return me Rs 24,000. He made it sound so convincing that I believed him and made the payment,” Chaturvedi, a retired professional, told The Telegraph

However, after making the payment, Chaturvedi did not receive any money and was instead asked to pay more to get back his Rs 12,000, he said. Realising he had been duped, Chaturvedi reported the matter to the police. 

Jodhpur Park resident Moumita Raha faced a similar situation when she tried to sell a music system through the same portal. Moumita lost Rs 80,000 to a man who had called her pretending to be a prospective buyer. 

“The man asked me to transfer Re 1 to his account and immediately refunded me Rs 2 to win my confidence. Then he sent me a QR code and told me that the rule for merchant transactions was that first the money would be debited and then double the amount would be credited. Since I did not have any idea about the matter, I followed his instructions,” Raha said. 

She made four online transactions totalling Rs 80,000, which she did not get back, she said. 

A man from Kolkata who stays in Maharashtra’s Thane said he was saved by his daughter just before he was about to fall into the trap of fraudsters when he tried to sell a dining table and chairs through an online trading portal. 

Sourav Ghosh, originally from Jadavpur, said that after he posted on the portal photographs of the items he wanted to sell, he received a call from someone who introduced himself as an armyman. Ghosh had set the price of the item at Rs 20,000.

“The caller identified himself as Jora Singh. He said he had army coupons worth Rs 40,000 and would pay through those coupons. He sent me a QR Code and asked me to transfer Rs 20,000 to him so he would pay me Rs 40,000 with the coupons,” Ghosh told The Telegraph

Just before he was about to transfer the money, his daughter intervened and stopped him from making any transaction.  “I would have been cheated had not my daughter stopped me on time,” he said. 

Kolkata police officers said that apart from OTP frauds and cheating through text messages asking to pay pending electricity bills, duping people through QR codes has also become common in Kolkata.

“It is difficult to track such cases because the mobile numbers used are all pre-activated and are not registered in the name of the fraudsters,” said an officer.

Last updated on 13.08.22, 07:59 AM
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