At least 37 people were allegedly duped on OLX, an online classified site, by fraudsters who used leaked soft copies of Aadhaar and ID cards of CISF and Army personnel, reported The Print.
CISF and Army headquarters have received several calls and complaint emails — questioning the integrity of the men in uniform — accusing their personnel of duping potential customers on OLX. Most of the cases were reported from Rajasthan, a few of them took place in Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh as well, according to the report.
An internal inquiry by CISF revealed that a constable himself was fooled when he paid Rs. 23,000 to buy an iPhone on OLX, but never received it. He had shared a copy of his Aadhaar card for the purchase. The constable later filed a complaint at Vakola Police station and Cyber City Police station at BKC in Mumbai. “It was found that the constable, who people had been cursing in mails, was himself a victim. He had shared his Aadhaar card with the seller, which was then misused,” said CISF officer to The Print. “When we made further inquiries, it was found that the scamsters have been using these ID papers, including the Aadhaar card of several defence personnel to dupe people online,” the officer added.
In one case, a copy of the Aadhaar card of an Army personnel was leaked from a travel agent, according to the report. The defence ministry too was sounded after a complaint against an Army personnel, Vikram Waghmare, was sent to Army headquarters. “The complaint said that the personnel wanted to sell his iPhone 6S and made a deal for Rs 16,000,” an officer said. “Following this, he asked for full payment in advance. To gain the customer’s trust, the scamster shared the Aadhaar card bearing his photo in Army uniform and his I-card on WhatsApp. Thinking that he was dealing with an Army officer, the buyer transferred the money in good faith and then the seller’s phone was switched off,” the Army officer added.
This seems to be the modus operandi of the scamsters who would pose on OLX as Army or CISF personnel to gain the trust of the actual Army personnel. The sellers would then convince the Army personnel that they wished to sell their phone or car as they had been transferred to another state. They would then ask the customer to pay a 50 per cent advance for the product through Paytm and once the amount was received, they would switch off their phones.
The fraudsters reportedly used soft copies of the Aadhaar and identity cards of defence personnel to create an account on OLX and then posted several products for sale. OLX said it has blocked the accounts that were opened to carry out fraudulent deals.
An spokesperson said OLX is “working with the authorities and have extended every possible assistance at our disposal to support in investigation.”
It is unfortunate that offenders are misusing identity of CISF officials in the course of communicating with users. As soon as we learnt about the case, we immediately blocked the reported accounts who have been using the fake ids while communicating with our users. Additionally, we are working with the authorities and have extended every possible assistance at our disposal to support in investigation. We urge our users to never send an advance partial or full payment before collecting any product. We proactively communicateto our users about our safety guidelines through Social media campaigns and help section at help.olx.in. In case of any issues, our users can speak with our Trust & Safety support team at +91 9999140999 or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
— Spokesperson for OLX India.
This story was updated to include the statement from OLX India.