Engineer Falls Prey to Online Fraud On Flat Search, Loses Rs 64K

Cyber Fraud: In a recent incident involving cyber fraud, an IT professional residing in Bengaluru fell victim to a scam and lost Rs 64,000 while searching for a rental property online. The unfortunate incident took place as the individual was exploring potential residences in the Whitfield area of the city through popular property rental websites. During this search, the victim engaged with a supposed homeowner, only to discover later that she had been tricked into an unauthorized transaction from her bank account.
Reported by Times Now, the victim, a software engineer who lives in the IPB International Tech Park Bangalore in Whitefield, was in the process of seeking a new apartment to rent. On August 17, she came across an appealing property listing with images that caught her interest. In order to obtain more information, she dialed the provided phone number in the online post.
The call was answered by an individual named Preetam, who identified himself as the owner of the flat. He agreed to rent out the property to the victim and informed her that his manager, Anupam Singh, would be contacting her to proceed with the necessary formalities. The victim’s complaint detailed that she later received a call from Singh, who requested funds for the deposit and other administrative requirements.
Believing the call and arrangement to be genuine, the victim complied and transferred the money. However, her suspicion grew when Singh contacted her again, asking for a repeat transfer due to a purported technical glitch that had hindered the previous payment. This raised red flags for the victim, leading her to question the authenticity of the situation. Unfortunately, her inquiry was met with a sudden disconnection of the call.
Recognizing that she had fallen victim to a scam, the individual promptly lodged a complaint. While instances of fraudulent property listings and scammers deceiving individuals with deposit-related scams are not new, it is crucial to remain cautious and vigilant in such situations.
Fraudsters frequently post fraudulent property advertisements online that appear genuine. Often, these listings are displayed on reputable online platforms. Consequently, individuals are misled into contacting them, only to find themselves ensnared in a scam. Here are some essential safety guidelines to protect oneself from such deceitful schemes:
Conduct Thorough Research: Before initiating contact regarding a property, engage in research to validate its legitimacy. Cross-reference the property listing on multiple platforms and confirm its association with a trustworthy real estate agent or property management firm. Additionally, check social media and review sites for potential negative experiences associated with the landlord or property manager.
Meet in Person: The most reliable method of verification involves meeting the landlord or property manager face-to-face. If they decline an in-person meeting, exercise caution as this is a warning sign.
Avoid Upfront Payments: Authentic property managers and landlords will never demand upfront payments, such as deposits or rent, prior to the property viewing and lease agreement signing. Any request for upfront funds should be treated as a scam.
Be Cautious of Unrealistic Deals: Listings offering properties at exceptionally low rates compared to the market norm are likely scams and should be treated as such.