BENGALURU: Earlier this month, when the Goods and Services Tax (GST) kicked in and debates raged over whether prices of goods were going up or down, a bunch of online scamsters were hard at work to con Bengaluru women with a clearance sale.
The women, mostly homemakers, fell prey to a ‘kurti con’ operated by the fraudsters on the Facebook group, Bangalore Wholesale Market, a forum with over 1.58 lakh followers. The forum is used by netizens unofficially to buy and sell all kinds of goods.
It was a limited period offer. Towards late June, the online fraudsters advertised a ‘Kurti clearance sale’ on the social media group, stating that the offer was exclusive and pre-GST rates were dirt-cheap.
Some of the women have now approached Bengaluru city police with complaints of the fraud.
“Many like me fell for the advertisement posted on June 27, of fancy kurtis for just Rs 299 a piece. The advertisement claimed the price was 70% lower than the MRP and was an attempt to clear stocks before GST came into effect,” lamented Archana Prasanth, a homemaker from KR Puram who operates a small garment trading business from home, and caters to neighbouring women and a few other local residents.
In response to the FB group sale, the homemaker called the given phone number and spoke to a woman who identified herself as Ansika Jaiwal, and placed an order for 57 kurtis as the post clearly mentioned that only bulk orders were accepted.
“I transferred Rs 18,200 in two instalments, one to a bank account of the culprit and another to her e-wallet. But the kurti consignment never arrived. The woman’s phone remained switched off and she deactivated her account,” said Archana, who later came across numerous posts on the FB group by people who had been similarly cheated.
In some cases, women from certain localities had pooled in money and placed orders for kurtis in bulk, and transferred thousands of rupees to bank accounts and e-wallets, as advised by the fraudsters.
According to B Anuradha from ITI Layout, who deposited Rs 25,000 for an order of 100 kurtis on the forum, there are many more who have been cheated by the so-called seller.