Kurti scamsters cash in on GST scare, cheat several Bengaluru women

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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.

“There is a string of posts on the Bangalore Wholesale Market group, claiming they were cheated of their money by the promised kurti sale. People have lost from Rs 10,000 to Rs 75,000 to the fraud and are venting their anger online. I spoke to a woman from Channapatna who lost Rs 50,000 to the kurti scamsters but she was not ready to come forward to file a complaint,” added Anuradha, who reached out to many victims to collectively approach Bengaluru police with a complaint.
Finally, Anuradha befriended fellow victim Archana on the group. The duo, along with a few others, approached the cyber crime wing of Bengaluru police recently and lodged complaints against the online fraudsters who had capitalized on the price rise scare created by GST.

There are many more women who have lost cash to the fraud but don’t want to come forward with a police complaint as they fear their families, mainly their husbands, will learn about their losses.
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/kurti-scamsters-cash-in-on-gst-scare-cheat-several-bengaluru-women/articleshow/59797974.cms

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