Bangalore Police to shut down 'fake shopping portal'
Bangalore: A shopping portal, raided by police for allegedly duping gullible customers with false advertisements, will be shut down soon, a senior police official said Tuesday.
"We will order shutting down the fake web site after completing the investigation and filing charge-sheet against the six accused partners who created the portal (BIGSOP.com) and used payment gateways of many banks for transactions," Bengaluru Joint Commissioner of Police Hemant Nimbalkar told IANS in Bangalore.
The six accused were arrested Saturday and jailed Sunday after a court remanded them to six-day judicial custody pending investigation.
"We busted the fake portal by taking suo motu action on a complaint one of its victims posted on our Twitter account, alleging he was duped by the website, by first declaring him a lucky winner of an iPhone for Rs. 599 but not delivering the handset despite remitting the amount through a bank's payment gateway," Nimbalkar said.
Using a back office, the portal would lure gullible customers by advertising on its pop-ups that they were lucky winners of expensive mobile handsets and other electronic devices at huge discounts for placing orders to buy a range of goods online.
"We have directed the authorities concerned to de-active the shopping portal to prevent any activity or transaction through it," Nimbalkar said.
The portal's website, which was active till Monday, went offline from Tuesday afternoon citing "maintenance" as the reason.
"This site is currently under maintenance. We will be back shortly. For any queries, please write us at email@example.com," the portal said in a message posting.
Police have got many complaints on phone and on its Twitter and Facebook accounts against the portal after the scam was unearthed Saturday.
"We have advised all those who felt cheated by the fake portal to lodge complaints at police stations with details of emails exchanged and payments transacted online," Nimbalkar added.
The pop-up advertisements, promising e-gadgets on huge discounts, lured thousands to become registered users of the portal and pay in advance although many of them did not get delivery of goods they ordered online.
The accused, who originally hailed from Jharkand and Andhra Pradesh, had also set up a back office or BPO (business process outsourcing) centre with 30 employees to take calls or receive complaints from registered users and prospective customers.
"We have found Rs. 75 lakh in the bank accounts of the six accused. We were able to trace them on the basis of addresses they gave for landline phones at their back office as the address on the website was false," Bangalore Crime Branch Deputy Commissioner of Police Abhishek Goel said.