Bakery Franchise Fraud: Online Crooks Defraud a Pune Man of ₹10 Lakh
Pune: A 33-year-old individual residing in Pimpri Chinchwad became a target of cybercriminals who made fraudulent promises regarding the acquisition of a franchise from a well-known bakery brand. The individual who was unaware of the situation was deceived into relinquishing a significant amount of ₹10 lakh, believing it to be necessary for the payment of different processing fees and penalties.
A Tempting Offer
The individual, employed inside a privately-owned organization, was engaged in an exploration of prospective commercial prospects on the internet when they fortuitously encountered a webpage advertising franchise chances for a well-known bakery chain with numerous establishments located in Pune. Curiosity piqued, he completed an electronic form by providing his personal information, including his contact data.
Subsequently, he was contacted by someone purporting to be the “franchise manager” of the bakery chain. The individual received a communication indicating that the initial capital required for the franchise would be roughly ₹10 lakh.
The Unfolding Scam
Motivated by a strong desire to capitalize on a potentially profitable opportunity, the individual in question proceeded to remit a registration fee amounting to ₹15,000. Subsequently, he was directed to furnish photographs and disclose the precise location of the establishment where he wanted to establish the franchise.
Upon acquiring an appropriate retail location in the Marunji vicinity, the individual proceeded to submit the necessary particulars. He was notified that the franchise had been authorized. Nevertheless, the underlying essence of the fraudulent scheme gradually became exposed.
A Costly Discovery
During the subsequent days, the perpetrators employed coercive tactics to compel the victim to execute multiple financial transactions, encompassing a variety of transfers such as security deposits, shop interior expenses, and paperwork costs. As the quantities increased, the individual began to harbor suspicions of illicit activity.
Motivated by the need to authenticate the credibility of the proposition, he embarked upon a visit to an established branch of the bakery business in Pune, only to ascertain that he had fallen victim to a fraudulent scheme. At this juncture, he had already executed the transfer of a cumulative amount of ₹10.11 lakh to many bank accounts.
Upon becoming aware of the full scope of the fraudulent scheme, the individual expeditiously notified law enforcement authorities, leading to the initiation of legal proceedings through the submission of a First Information Report (FIR). An inquiry has been initiated by the authorities, wherein they are tracing the phone numbers and account data employed by the individuals involved in cybercriminal activities.
The occurrence in question signifies the third instance within the past few months, indicating a worrisome pattern in which individuals engaging in internet fraud take advantage of the appeal of franchise prospects offered by well-established businesses in order to fool individuals who are unaware of their intentions. The significance of vigilance is underscored by authorities, who advocate for the practice of cross-verifying investment offers using official corporate websites.
Earlier Incidents Raise Alarms
In a previous occurrence in June, a 35-year-old executive from an engineering firm in Pune fell victim to a fraudulent scheme, resulting in a financial loss of one crore rupees. The scheme revolved around a multinational pizza chain franchise, which coincided with the imminent cricket World Cup and the establishment of an outpost at the Pune airport.
The findings of the investigations indicate that the victim was compelled to engage in numerous financial transactions involving different bank accounts. These transactions were conducted with the pretense of establishing franchise outlets for the pizza business chain.
A Cautionary Tale
Law enforcement agencies and cybercrime units are emphasizing the importance of exercising caution while engaging with investment offers and stressing the need to authenticate the legitimacy of such proposals using official channels provided by the respective companies. Given the increasing prevalence of franchise fraud, it is imperative to exercise awareness and engage in thorough due diligence in order to avoid becoming a victim of these deceitful schemes.
About The Author:
Yogesh Naager is a content marketer who specializes in the cybersecurity and B2B space. Besides writing for the News4Hackers blog, he’s also written for brands including CollegeDunia, Utsav Fashion, and NASSCOM. Naager entered the field of content in an unusual way. He began his career as an insurance sales executive, where he developed an interest in simplifying difficult concepts. He also combines this interest with a love of narrative, which makes him a good writer in the cybersecurity field. In the bottom line, he frequently writes for Craw Security.
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