Educated Citizens of Pune Continue to Fall Prey to Online Frauds

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Reported By Tikam Shekhawat and Varad Bhatkhande

Pune, 13th June 2024: Pune, known as the Oxford of the East, attracts numerous individuals for both education and employment opportunities. The presence of IT parks in Hinjawadi, Magarpatta, and Kharadi, as well as MIDCs in Bhosari, Chakan, and Talegaon, facilitates migration to the district. However, alongside this development, the incidence of crimes is also on the rise. Various crimes occur daily in the Pune district, encompassing Pune city and Pimpri Chinchwad.

Among these crimes, financial frauds, predominantly committed online, constitute a significant portion. Despite being educated, residents of this academic hub often fall victim to scams. Moreover, compared to other crimes, the police have a lower success rate in arresting the perpetrators of financial fraud. Recently, several financial cases have been reported within the jurisdictions of both the Pune Police Commissionerate and the Pimpri Chinchwad Police Commissionerate (PCPC).

Pune Residents Swindled of Over 50 Lakh in Recent Scams

In Duttawadi, a senior citizen was defrauded of Rs 10,36,872 by an unknown individual. The 62-year-old promptly reported the incident to Mundhwa Police Station. The perpetrator had sent an email posing as a company representative, claiming the complainant had an outstanding bill payment. Believing the email to be legitimate, the complainant paid the alleged amount. It wasn’t until over a week later that he realized he had been deceived. Mundhwa Police promptly registered a case against the unknown individual using his email ID and bank account details.

In Uttam Nagar, a 42-year-old citizen fell victim to a gang who defrauded him of Rs 5,50,499. He promptly reported the incident to Uttam Nagar Police Station. The fraudsters contacted the complainant, posing as representatives from Max Life Insurance, and informed him that his policy had been terminated. They instructed him to speak with senior officials to withdraw the policy amount. Gaining the complainant’s trust, the fraudsters exploited the information provided by him, ultimately hacking his mobile device and duping him.

In Hadapsar, a 38-year-old citizen fell victim to a scam amounting to Rs 38,57,267 involving multiple accused. The victim promptly filed a complaint at Hadapsar Police Station. The scam began with the victim receiving a message on Telegram from the fraudulent accused, who claimed to represent a travel company. They lured the victim with promises of work-from-home opportunities, involving assistance with hotel bookings and the promise of commissions. Trusting the accused, the victim shared personal details, only to find himself ensnared in a scam.

Scams Drain Pimpri Chinchwad Residents of 2.64 Crores

A 40-year-old resident of Pimple Saudagar was defrauded of Rs 76,83,000 by scammers who enticed him with the promise of selling a flat. The resident promptly filed a complaint at Sangvi Police Station. To gain the trust of the complainant, the scammers presented an agreement to sell and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by him. Believing the authenticity of the documents, the resident paid the agreed-upon amount for the flat. He even took a loan from Axis Bank to make the payment. However, he never received the promised flat and is now burdened with repaying the loan as well.

A man from Wakad fell victim to a scam orchestrated by four individuals, resulting in a loss of Rs 64,55,902. He promptly complained to Wakad Police Station. The victim had invested this substantial amount with the expectation of high returns on shares, as promised by the fraudsters. Additionally, they assured him of guidance in navigating the share market. However, despite making the payment, the victim neither received the promised returns nor any guidance, ultimately losing the entire invested amount.

A woman from Bavdhan fell victim to a massive scam, losing Rs 1,26,16,561. She promptly complained to Hinjawadi Police Station, leading to the registration of a case against six unknown individuals. The perpetrators had enticed the woman with promises of investing in the share market and initially provided returns to gain her trust. However, when she invested a significant amount, she neither received the promised returns nor her initial investment.

In the above cases, scammers managed to swindle a total of Rs 3 Crore 19 Lakh. The majority of these incidents occurred either online or through phone calls. Interestingly, all the victims of these scams are employed individuals, and notably, they are all highly educated. It’s a common occurrence to witness numerous people falling victim to scams daily, whether it be online or in real life. Unfortunately, both educated and illiterate individuals are susceptible to such schemes. However, in some instances where the amount involved is not substantial, cases fail to get registered as people tend to overlook them.

Precautions Against Financial Scams

Online financial scams involve deceptive schemes conducted through the Internet or electronic communication channels, aiming to obtain sensitive financial information or conduct unauthorized transactions. Conversely, offline financial scams entail deceitful practices executed through in-person interactions, telephone calls, or postal mail, intending to defraud victims of money or valuable assets. Here are some precautions to safeguard against both types of fraud:

Online Fraud Precautions:

1. Verify identities before sharing personal information.

2. Use strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication.

3. Beware of phishing attempts; avoid suspicious links.

4. Monitor bank statements and credit reports regularly.

5. Install reputable antivirus software; keep devices updated.

6. Research investments thoroughly; avoid unrealistic promises.

7. Report suspicious activity to authorities promptly.

Offline Fraud Precautions:

1. Safeguard personal documents; shred before disposal.

2. Stay informed about common scams.

3. Verify service legitimacy before providing information.

4. Be cautious with personal information; don’t share it with strangers.

5. Deal with reputable businesses and service providers.

6. Secure physical belongings to prevent theft.

7. Stay vigilant; trust instincts in suspicious situations.

Authorities Advise Vigilance

Pune Commissioner of Police, Amitesh Kumar, remarked, “Many individuals often resort to shortcuts in pursuit of quick money, which ultimately backfires. Additionally, the trend of cybercriminals posing as law enforcement officials and engaging in phone scams is becoming increasingly prevalent. My advice is simple: refrain from sharing any critical information such as OTPs or personal details over the phone with individuals you don’t know.”


Pimpri Chinchwad Commissioner of Police, Vinoy Kumar Choubey, stated, “There are numerous cases of people falling victim to financial scammers that we encounter. The majority of these individuals are educated, but due to the allure of high returns and other attractive schemes, they become prey to such scams. My advice is to think critically and verify before entrusting anyone.”