Software engineer dupes 22,000 people through shopping website, arrested
The Mumbai Police has arrested a software engineer-turned-cloth merchant from Gujarat's Surat for allegedly duping nearly 22,000 people, mostly women, through his shopping website. The accused, Ashish Ahir reportedly completed his higher education in London. He turned to the world of crime after his business suffered, said police. He has now been booked under relevant sections of the IPC and Information Technology Act.
He sold high-end clothing at throwaway prices
As per Rashmi Karandikar, a senior officer in Mumbai Cyber Cell, 32-year-old Ahir made the website Shopiiee.com and targeted innocent customers. He put on sale high-end clothes at reasonable prices. The shopping website didn't have a cash-on-delivery option forcing customers to pay money before receiving the products. After getting the money, Ahir wouldn't ship the promised merchandise, the cop revealed.
He made Rs. 1 crore by cheating thousands of people
Karandikar revealed that the duped customers usually didn't approach the police as the amount involved was less. The police took cognizance of the matter after a woman, who lost Rs. 2,400 to the racket, filed a complaint. As per reports, Ahir cheated online shoppers of nearly Rs. 1 crore. While he has been remanded to police custody, the website Shopiiee.com was also taken down.
Since business suffered, he hatched criminal plan
The police officer revealed that Ahir's factory suffered huge losses in the last few years. "His financial health worsened amid the coronavirus lockdown. Facing mounting debt, he made an elaborate plan to create his own website to sell clothes as a way to cheat people," she told NDTV. As per TOI, the accused started the website to cheat people sometime in June.
11 fraudulent websites identified, police urged people to be alert
With a rise in such cases, police urged online shoppers to be more cautious. Karandikar said 11 such fake websites, present on Facebook and other social media platforms, have been identified. These websites have the same way of functioning — they "sell" products at throwaway rates. After a customer places an order and pays money, the chosen product never reaches them, she underlined.