The accused comprised of a team graphic designers and telecallers who duped people through a fake website with features similar to Ola Electric’s website.
The Delhi Police's cybercrime team arrested 20 people linked to an online Ola electric scooter scam on Monday, in which over 1,000 people were duped. The accused were arrested from various locations of the country, including Bengaluru, Gurugram, and Bihar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer North) Devesh Mahla told news agency ANI.
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According to the report, the gang duped over 1,000 persons of crores of rupees. The police busted a call centre in Patna and arrested 16 people linked to the scam. About 114 SIM cards, 60 mobile phones and seven laptops were seized. About 25 bank accounts with transactions worth Rs 5 crore have been traced.
The police said the accused offered to book Ola e-scooters offline for customers and asked them to pay the down payment and various charges. The accused, comprising a team of website, graphic and server designers, and tele callers were placed across the country.
According to the DCP, a police complaint was filed on October 7 by a victim about the fraud. A case was registered under Section 420 of IPC, following which the technical surveillance started to nab the fraudsters.
Mahla said the accused operated from Karnataka and Bihar. All work regarding the fake website and providing data from servers to call centres was carried out from Bengaluru, while the call centre was run in Bihar by 16 persons from Karnataka, Telangana, Jharkhand and Bihar, as per the ANI report. The police said the racket hired people from different regions to cater to people across India.
What was the scam?
According to the police, two people in Bengaluru had designed a fake website for Ola electric scooters. They used the website to make bookings and uploaded their details for a callback. The scamsters then shared the victims' mobile numbers and other details with their gang members in other states.
Buyers were then called and asked to transfer pay around Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 in the name of insurance, transportation charges or down payment for the e-scooter.
One of the complainants alleged that he tried to book an Ola electric scooter via the official Ola app on September 26 but failed to do so as there was no finance option that he was looking for.
He then came across the fake website and made a payment of Rs 499 via the PayU app to book the e-scooter. He then received a booking confirmation slip.
He paid Rs 30,000 via a down payment link that was generated for him by the scammers.
The complainant later got an email stating the sanctioned amount was now Rs 72,000 and the accused asked him to pay again. The accused also asked the victim to pay Rs 13,000 as delivery charges. Later, the complainant registered an FIR, and an investigation was taken up.
In a statement on the official website, Ola clarified that it is not onboarding any dealers, dealerships or other third-party affiliations and no offline sales model of the company exists.
It also mentions that if a person comes across any salesperson or organisation claiming to sell their e-scooter through any website, phone call, poster, social media post, or WhatsApp forward, then he/she must inform the police and report it to Ola’s legal team.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)