Delhi woman falls prey to 'free thali' bait, loses Rs 90,000 in cyber fraud

08:59 AM May 27, 2023 | PTI |

New Delhi: Lured by a ‘buy one thali (food plate), get another free’ offer, a 40-year-old woman from southwest Delhi allegedly lost Rs 90,000 after downloading an app as asked by cyber crooks.


Savita Sharma, the complainant, has lodged an FIR at cyber police station. Sharma, who works as a senior executive at a bank, told the police that one of her relatives informed her about the offer on Facebook. She visited the site on November 27, 2022, and made a call on the given number to make an enquiry about the deal.

She didn’t get any response but received a call back and “the caller asked her to get the offer of Sagar Ratna (a popular restaurant chain)”, Sharma said in her FIR lodged on May 2 this year.

“The caller shared a link and asked me to download an application to avail the offer. He also sent the user ID and password to access the app. He told me that if I want to get the offer, I will have to register on this app first,” Sharma told PTI.

She added, “I clicked on the link and the app was downloaded. Then I entered the user ID and password. The moment I did it, I lost control of my phone. It was hacked and then I received a message that Rs 40,000 was debited from my account.”


Sharma said that a few seconds later she received another message that Rs 50,000 was withdrawn from her account.

“It was very surprising for me that the money went from my credit card to my Paytm account and then moved out to the fraudster’s account. I never shared any of these details with the caller,” Sharma claimed, adding that she immediately blocked her credit card.

Though the cyber police are probing the matter, similar cases of fraud have been reported from other cities where people lost thousands of rupees.

When contacted, a representative of Sagar Ratna admitted that they received many such complaints from customers.

“We have received many calls where people complained that they were defrauded by someone who advertised lucrative offers in the name of our restaurant. We warned people to remain alert of any such lucrative deal as we never make offers to people through Facebook,” the representative said, adding the cyber police in other cities are also probing the similar matter.

Sharma told PTI that web link of such fraud offers are still circulating among people through WhatsApp and if timely action is not taken, many others may fall prey to it. Police officers said they are educating commoners not to download any application or click on any link which comes from unknown sources.

“Cyber criminals are devising new ways to defraud people. People should not click on any link or app which comes from unknown or unidentified sources,” a cybercrime investigator said.


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