In a one-of-its kind case, Pune resident Velpuri Pavithra narrowly escaped a fraud when she was trying to make a sale on online buying and selling platform OLX. Pavithra took to Facebook to explain what had happened. A couple of months ago, she had put up an ad for selling a stroller on the app for Rs 3,500 but did not find any buyers for the asked price. A few days ago, she received a message from a potential buyer – Vishal – who showed interest in buying the product at the quoted price.
Pavithra suggested him to personally check the condition of the stroller before agreeing to buy it, to which he declined saying that he lives in Mumbai and wants to buy it for his sister who lives in Pune. Her sister after the deal was finalized would come and collect it the following day. As soon as the deal was finalized, the man asked for her account details on WhatsApp and within 3 minutes, she received an SMS from a 5-digit number 59444, saying her account has been credit with Rs 13,500, an extra Rs 10,000.
Upon asking, the man said he transferred the extra Rs 10,000 by mistake and he meant to send it to his mother, who was waiting at a hospital to pay the bill. He asked Pavithra to transfer the Rs 10,000 via Paytm to a different number (not the same number she was speaking to him on.)
Right before she made the transfer, she decided to check her account details and found that no such transaction had occurred. She even called her bank’s customer care number to check if there is a possibility for a quick transfer that occurred within three minutes. To which the executive replied that both NEFT or IMPS transfers take at least 2 hours to happen. Even adding a new beneficiary takes at least half an hour.
During this time, the man kept pestering her to make the transfer creating an urgency that his mother was waiting for the money. She tried to tell him that the transfer had not yet happened and began probing him for his bank account details. Once the man realized he has been unsuccessful in his attempt to dupe the woman, he refused to take her calls. She received a call from the man after two hours which she chose to ignore.
Pavithra even shared the screenshots of her WhatsApp conversation with the man who tried to dupe her. She raised the issue with OLX, which replied to her on email saying that they have blocked this user’s account on their platform. She also lodged a complaint at the local police station and cyber cell.