Alcohol has become the talk of the town since the state governments have planned to ease out the restriction on the alcohol sale.
Considering that alcohol is one of the few means to uplift the country’s economy, it becomes important for the government to make sure that people have easy access to it without compromising on anyone's safety.
Considering the problem, the Supreme Court of India has dismissed a plea challenging a government circular of May 1 allowing sale of liquor through direct contact sales during the lockdown.
The SC instead has asked the state governments to consider online sale or home delivery of alcohol to maintain social distancing. But it seems like the online sale will lead to another problem of allowing fraudsters to grab the opportunity and loot people.
The officials of Delhi excise department say they have found about 20 incidents of people being tricked into making online payments for the home delivery of liquor bottles, which never arrived. The department has also filed a complaint with the Delhi Police listing several fake websites that were offering the home delivery of liquor.
Almost 20 people have been duped with varying amounts between Rs 1,000 and Rs 10,000, totalling to over Rs 1 lakh. The crime branch officials believe that some of these websites came up in the last couple of days, soon after a discussion in the Delhi government started over the possibility of home delivery to reduce crowding at liquor shops and avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Not just in Delhi, similar incidents of frauds have happened in other cities as well. One such incident happened in Kolkata where a businessman received a call with a promise to deliver his favourite brand of liquor at his door steps.
The caller asked for his bank details and promised to deliver within an hour but that never happened. Without giving the matter a second thought, he shared his bank information and within a few minutes he had lost a hefty amount of money. There are many in the city who have been duped with the same method over the past few days.
A probe has revealed that the racket has been operating from a remote village in Jharkhand's Jamtara district. The fraudsters know that amid the coronavirus crisis it would be relatively simple to dupe affluent people desperate for some alcohol.
Taking advantage of the situation, the online fraudsters belonging to the ‘Jamtara gang’ swung into action and have so far managed to dupe several people of about Rs 2.5 lakh by promising home delivery of liquor bottles in Kolkata. These fraudsters are putting up advertisements on Facebook with their contact numbers. When people are calling them (in some cases fraudsters are also making random calls), they ask for their credit card details and dupe the people.
An accountant in Hyderabad lost Rs 92,000 to fraudsters while trying to buy alcohol online. The trap was again laid through Facebook advertising for delivering alcohol at doorstep. The offer lured the accountant to pay before the delivery and scanned the QR code the fraudster sent to him for payment of money.
Initially he paid Rs. 1,600 and later after the conman said only liquor bottles of higher price are available and asked him to scan the QR code again. Once done, the victim found Rs. 92,000 deducted from his account.