Fraud Alert: Investment Traps; Beware of Delivery Scams
Greed can make people do many things that cause them to lose their hard-earned money. Innumerable warnings not to fall for quick and absurdly high returns on any investment have little impact and people fall for them anyway. 
 
A person from Pune was cheated of Rs4.37 crore under the pretext of investing money in forex trading and earning huge returns. There are several cases where common people are lured into investing in the stock market, forex trade or anything fancy with promises to earn huge returns. While police are registering and investigating such frauds, the chances of investors getting back their hard-earned money are slim. In one such investment fraud, which Moneylife reported in January 2021, the Thane police arrested SM Trade's promoter and his colleague.
 
Investment Fraud
 
The Sinhgad police has registered a case against Abhijit Appaso Vihar of AR Trading for cheating an investor of Rs4.37 crore under the pretext of investing money in forex trading. 
 
According to a report from Hindustan Times, the accused took Rs5 crore from the investor with a promise to give 24% returns. He returned Rs62.50 lakh as a return on investment; however, he did not return the balance of Rs4.37 crore to the investor. 
 
A case under IPC 420 (cheating) and Information Technology (IT) act has been lodged against the accused.
 
In another case,  reported by the Times of India, a woman from Dehu Road lost Rs3 lakh when she tried to invest the money with an investment company, she found on the web. The woman shared her details on the company webpage and was informed over a phone call that if she invested Rs5,000 in the company, she could earn up to Rs1 lakh per month. After a few days, she was told to pay Rs40,000 to receive the promised Rs1 lakh. While the woman never received any money from the 'investment company', the fraudsters took money from her several times under the pretext of returning her money. 
 
"In total, the woman transferred Rs3 lakh to the suspects. She realised she had been duped and stopped responding to their calls," a police officer told the newspaper, adding, "We have sought details of the bank accounts." 
 
From the above two cases, here are two essential points everyone needs to consider while thinking about investment. Be careful if anyone promises to return more than the provident fund's current interest rate. You will have to study and analyse the entity before investing your money. 
 
Secondly, as we keep saying, stay away from financial products you do not understand. For example, if you have no idea how the foreign currency market or trading works, it is better to avoid any 'investment' plan that offers higher returns from forex trade. Always remember, it is your hard-earned money, so think twice, thrice before parting with it as an 'investment' to earn unrealistic returns.
 
Meanwhile, the Thane police has arrested Ritesh Panchal, aka Ritesh Sikligar, owner, and promoter of SM Trade and several other 'investment' firms and his colleague Mohan Patil for cheating around 7,000 investors of nearly Rs10 crore. 
 
According to a report from Loksatta, the investor visited the office of Shree Mahakali group of companies, where Mr Patil told him that if he invests a minimum of Rs24,000, then he would receive an amount three times the investment in 20 months and would also earn 0.5% interest daily in his investment. 
 
The investor invested Rs24,000, and when he tried to withdraw the money on 3rd August, he was told by the company not to withdraw money since he would lose more returns. The investor then searched more about the company and came across a warning issued by National Stock Exchange (NSE) about not investing money in SM Trade and Shree Mahalaki Trade. He then filed a complaint with Shree Nagar police station in Thane.
 
In January 2021, Moneylife reported about SM Trade and Shree Mahakali Trade, warning investors to stay away from investing in these companies. (Read: Is SM Trade, a New Ponzi Scheme, Spreading Wings in and around Powai in Mumbai?
 
Later, in a circular issued in September 2021, NSE had also warned, "...an entity named SM Trade/ Shree Mahakali Trade and one person associated with it namely Ritesh Panchal, also known as Ritesh Sikligar, is collecting funds from general public through various assured/ guaranteed return schemes/ in stock market. Investors are advised not to subscribe to any assured/ guaranteed return scheme/s offered by aforesaid entity in stock market as the same is prohibited by law."  
 
Scams by Delivery Persons!
 
A 41-year-old advocate from Malwani in Malad was duped of Rs1.57 lakh by a cybercriminal, who asked her to update her address to deliver a washing machine that she had booked, says a report from Hindustan Times.
 
The lady ordered a washing machine for her home at Raigad, which was scheduled for delivery on 12 July 2022. However, on 8th July, she received a call from one Manish Kumar claiming to be an executive of the e-commerce site. He told her that her order had been dispatched, but since the delivery address was not updated, it could not be delivered. 
 
He then shared a link with her to update the address. He also asked her to pay Rs3 as a processing fee. The lawyer did that and, within 15 minutes, received messages that Rs1.57 lakh had been transferred in six transactions from her account to unknown accounts. 
 
In a similar-looking scam, a retired officer from the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) cadre lost Rs2 lakh when she ordered a home delivery of liquor. 
 
According to a report from IANS, the woman officer told police that she had placed an online order for liquor for a party at her place. "As I was busy in guest arrangements, I shared the credit card number and one-time password (OTP) with the caller in a hurry. Thereafter I got an SMS that Rs630 was debited through my credit card, but soon after I found that Rs1,92,477.50 was debited from my card," the woman stated in her complaint.
 
The important lesson from the above two cases is never to share or update your details on the phone or any link shared by an unknown person. In the case of e-commerce sites, always visit the authentic site and change the address or any other details. However, never share your credit card details with anyone over the phone.

 

Comments
Ch Ravi
2 months ago
How did the woman who ordered washing machine lost the money?
she just transferred 3 rupees as processing fee and then money has been debited from 3 of her bank accounts. how was even this possible?
MDT
Replied to Ch Ravi comment 2 months ago
The woman opened the link shared by the fraudster and paid Rs3 from that webpage. The fraudster was capturing all information that she had entered on that link. She may have used different bank accounts assuming the transaction had failed, when in fact, the fraudsters may have made the link and page work that way only. This information was used to siphon money from her accounts.
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