Fraudsters/Scamsters :: Bombay is filled with it! At times I'm really disgusted. When terrorists often target the financial capital also known as Mumbai. My heart goes out to the innocent victims who loses their lives while travelling on the local trains or buses in a constant hunt to make a living, but most people I've encountered are so fraud, money minded scamMers that I wonder is it God's way to punish Bombaikars for being so materialistic, money oriented? Not justifying the terror attacks, but, when I see a scam happening in front of my eyes, I do wish these people are taught a lesson of a lifetime!

[CASE-1] : My Fraud PR
Recently, I encountered a fraud person myself and was so disgusted with him when I found out the game he was playing. I wanted to punish him real bad for taking advantage of my obvious naivety! I was to hire the person as my PR which required trust 'cos I was about to hand over handling of the media to him in relation to my work!

So, it happens, that I wanted to book some ads, for each unit he charged me Rs.10400/- per coloured unit, whereas, actual price of the same was Rs.2448/- per coloured unit and black/white was Rs.1248/- to which he had lied that price of black/white unit was same as coloured. I was to order 10 such coloured units, so you can add/divide/minus/multiply to calculate how much profit he wanted to make by fooling me! Anyway, I called up the company head office to enquire about such outrageous rates and soon found out the bluff! When I asked him why he charged me such outrageous rates he was at loss for words. When I asked for a formal receipt,he meekly said to me that the price can be reduced! beginning he had claimed that prices are fixed and at no point will they be discounted or altered, infact, he had said that 50% will be deducted if I cancelled the order, and suddenly, with my demand for a receipt all his words changed!
I soon lost all trust in him and asked him my money back and cancelled the whole deal!

So lesson 1 - Before you hire agent/broker be aware of the real market price by calling up the company directly you want to do business with.
Lesson 2 - Never give the money without taking a formal receipt.

[CASE-2] : The Surfer that simply refused to surf!!
Ubisurfer, supposedly a ubiquitous surfer from Datawind, comes with free surfing i.e pay for the device not the usage. You are supposed to get 30 hrs per month free surfing and unlimited option is Rs99 per month. Ok so the surfer worked or seemed to work in the beginning. When I upgraded to the unlimited option it just refused to surf anymore. The distributor who sold it, asked me to call the customer care number based in Amritsar! The customer care instructed me to deposit the unlimited amount of Rs99, which I did to their account in ICICI after they promised they'll give access as soon as their account gets updated. Their account never seemed to be updated inspite of thousand calls to them [ Imagine in this day and age, that too of a Bank like ICICI!].

Later, they asked me to scan and email a copy of ICICI receipt, which I did. They said, they'll give access after 24 hrs. Well that did not happen. Days passed, more calls to the toll free number, more emails. They gave excuse that it was under process of activation since their office is in Canada [ did I get access in the beginning as it was activated when I bought it, if suddenly they seemed not to be able to give connectivity? ]. Their excuse - Canada offices remains closed when its day time here, and their offices remain closed when its daytime in Canada, which is a big LOL !
After many days when I called them again to ask why no connection yet...they seemed to be surprised that I didn't have connection, by asking its not done yet? Well its obvious, I was calling them up 'cos my connection was blocked. They said, don't call, that they'll call back instead...which they never did. By now, I was sure they just wanted to sell the device with promises but had no intention of delivering on those promises.

So, I contacted the Mumbai distributor to take back the device as it was of no use to me 'cos they simply would not give the connection inspite of my already paid for the device [ Rs.8000 ] as well as 1 month unlimited [ Rs.99 ]. At first, they said they won't refund, but will replace. Thankfully, there was refund option in the warranty card which they could not dispute. They said, they'd send someone to collect the device and refund. When no one came, I tried to call again....but all their numbers were switched off. Since the distributor had come to my house to sell, I didn't know how to get hold of him! When their numbers were on they'd would not pick the phone. So I called from another number which they picked up not knowing it was my number. They argued that I was doing so much hungama only for Rs.8000....well bloody, I told them even for Re.1 I wont leave them once I've discovered their fraud policies. I told them my next step would be to expose the fraud in the press, which seemed to work finally. ( Before that, I tried my own snooping, and tracked the distributor to a Videocon workshop, near Kandivali, from the landline number he had used - although, he wasn't in office that day ). Anyways, after my threat, they said, they's send someone the next day. Well....atlast, they had to take back the device and refund!
So lesson is don't fall into free this/free that traps! Nothing is free in this world. In this case, I had paid extra so it was no way free, yet, they tried to dupe!

[CASE-3] : Call Centre Scams ! Beware !
If you open papers such a Midday/Mumbai Mirror or any other you'll come across hordes of call centre advertisements, promising you jobs at your location/age no bar etc etc. While not all may be fraud, most of them certainly are! Their sole aim is to milk out the money from you!

The process is as such :
Usually, you go to the venue reading such paper advs, or you'll find someone near station or busy areas [ they stand near their office so that they can quickly show you the way or escort you themselves ] giving you a flyer/chit of paper announcing such call centre openings! Spot Offers! Once you reach, you'll be asked to fill their resume application. If you are with friend, you'll be strictly asked not to talk or discuss anything, infact, one of the boy will stand over your head, so you can't talk to your own friend till you leave the premises. [ Its actually to prevent you from discussing/or decide not to join after all ]

Once you are with the H.R, you'll be asked the usual questions, name, qualification, talking skills! Then the H.R will say you are selected from his/her side [ even though you may not have answered/or remained dumb throughout ] but that he/she will forward your resume to the senior H.R for approval, and for that you'll have to book your ID which he/she'll provide once you register amount of Rs300-350/-! If you hesitate, he/she'll ask you to pay half payment, rest pay after you are selected, so, you'll be ready to book for sometimes as low as Rs10/- even and upwards. You'll notice he/she'll really try to get a initial payment from you so that you are trapped. [ The ID number is actually the Branch code+Receipt number (so you can count how many they already fooled that day before you/they have many such receipt books) ]

Beware ! because, there's no senior H.R waiting to approve your resume. Its just a trick to take your money. If you've paid full amount, they'll give you another date to come so that they can send you for training [ which is held in some college in kandivli and shelling out of another Rs.300/- from your pocket ]
And if you've paid half, they'll call you later to say you are selected [ remember, there's no senior H.R, so, its just a pretence ] and come to pay the balance. After you come to pay balance, you'll be asked to come few days later for training as mentioned above!
So you lose Rs600+ in total in such interview scams!

Do you really get any job? The answer is NO! They may keep one or two of such candiates attending the training as office boy/H.R in another of their branch [ they have a network covering practically all over bombay/thane so its a wide scale scam ]...and the rest go home, empty handed!

If you really want to join call centre, only go to the company authorised and registered ones! And never shell out money for registration and all that bullcrap! Never !

[CASE-4] : Cancer NGO Scam
Ok here, you go to interview seeing Rs.25000/- package. And they select you. Next 3 days, you are to observe what your trainer/team leader does closely! You are not allowed to talk to other new ones same as you [ as you may discuss their policies/disagree/leave ]
What the trainer [ they have many such trainers/team leaders ] do is, carry some case files of young cancer patients [ you do not know if they are new or old patients ], go from offices/shops/roads saying these patients need urgent treatment. While offices/shops are expected to shell out in thousands, individuals are expected to shell in hundreds. Every day the target is Rs.5000/- each individual, ( more the better ) considered high roll potential of becoming trainer yourself if you do it 4 days,and next is Rs.3000/- considered Ok job! through not team leader material yet! Those who bring less should be prepared to face wrath of the chairman!

So do these funds collected really go to patients? [ Each branch [5 currently] has around 35+ so called volunteers [ actually employees ] bringing huge cash in everyday. They constantly take in freshers with ads in paper everyday ]. Not All goes! Not a big Amount! Only a minuscule amount actually make it, sometimes not at all; instead, maximum goes into the pockets of the chairman and other branch managers/team leaders who score more!

The lure of the offer is, if you bring in more, you are likely to have your own branch with a huge package! [ remember! the money was initially for cancer patients ! ]
Cancer is a serious issue! And to fool public to collect their money in the name of cancer patients, just to fill their own pockets, open new branches in new Malls & posh buildings to fool more public is a big big SCAM ! Read the Complaints - Here & Here & Here & Here & Here | Mushrooming NGOs

[CASE-5] : Reader's Digest Sweepstakes Scam
They are a big brand, but yet unfortunately, they are running this scam for years in many countries including India. They keep sending various sweepstakes documents declaring you as the finalist in their sweepstakes, meanwhile, pushing many products for you to buy throughout the year; adding that if you purchase, you have a higher chance of winning. In the end, they manage to milk out a big sum out of you, and you of course, end up with nothing except the crappy products that you have purchased from them. Never saw anyone ever claiming that they have won the RD Sweepstakes Prize like they do for other contests especially when the prize amount is such a big sum of Rs.32 Lakhs, plus cars etc. They release names of unknown winners, and some pictures that they have released are fakes too. Very rarely they would give a low amount pegasus prize to someone to make it look genuine. I get many of their sweepstakes documents asking me to purchase their stuff, and them declaring me as finalist. Of course, I won nothing but they on the other hand, got my money. Like this, they fool many people. So my advice will be don't participate in this scam ( even though, they may be a big brand name ), and make others aware.

[CASE-6] : Online Scammers
Many of us would be familiar with all those emails that land in our inboxes, saying we won lotteries, or someone left a will and help needed to transfer the money offshore. Nice percentages are offered as well. However, to claim the money we need to pay some 'courier' amount or some 'legal representative's fees' who would fascilitiate the transaction. While being aware of these scams, I never responded. However, one day I thought lets see how this game is actually played.
So, I replied one such mail, saying that, I'd help. However, in this case the person hadn't asked for any fees, and sounded quite genuine too. And what more, I got a call from a Bombay number saying the money had arrived and to meet in a hotel for that purpose. I freaked out and never picked up their phone calls again. I thought, if I went I could be murdered or kidnapped. I was so scared that ultimately I changed my number.

But another interesting thing happened. My father once had responded to one such mail that a millionaire had expired and help was needed to transfer the unclaimed bank amount. My father agreed to help and maybe even sent the required 'fees', because a black negro man arrived in our house with a big locker. He said, there was some millions in it. He opened a bundle and showed some notes by rubbing into some solution that he said was used over the notes. However, he said the solution bottle had broken during his journey and would require 2-3 lakhs to replace it, otherwise, it'd be difficult to remove the stain. He went back after locking the locker and kept it in our house ( however, he took the keys with him ). When I was at my native place, we decided to break it open. After all who doesn't want to see millions right? Hence, we called a person and broke it. We saw several bundles of black notes, all black. My father innocently said, if they were mixed in the solution the black notes will become real notes. As we didn't have the chemical solution, we decided to use some soap water. Nothing happened. My mother took some dollar note that my sister in USA had given. We measures the sizes of the notes and found that these were way smaller than the standard notes. At once my father realised that he was conned. He never said to us how much the negro man took from him, but both me and my mother believe that fraudster definitely took a large sum. It was a 'ha ha, ullu banaya, bara maza aaya' moment for this negro chap perhaps.
( Many of these negro scammers work from within India itself )

[CASE-7] : That Pushy Realtor
A personal experience here again. This lady employee of a builder/developer firm, a cunning one at that, tried something totally atrocious with me, but failed. I had gone to buy a house, and while showing around, she told me, whatever she was showing was 'all inclusive' in the price. But later, when I went to book, she suddenly told me I'll have to pay an extra 15k for Electricity, Tax and Water receipts. Whatever happened to her famous term of 'all inclusive' I wondered, wherein, she had mentioned the same was included too very clearly. Anyways, I paid that. However, I tried to reconfirm about the water-tank, since that would need sometime to install and I wanted early possession; she then said, that would cost an additional 10k. So, immediately I told her I don't want it, although, I had seen the same installed in all the houses she had shown me so far, and thought it was included too. She lied, that they install only when people asked. And those houses weren't even booked. She knew I had the requirement of a safety door, so later one day, she calls me up with an offer ( asking me not to tell the builder about it ), that, she'll get the safety door and water-tank installed at 12k ( 6k each ). I didn't like the lady, so I refused, telling I'll try to see cheaper options myself. I thus ordered, a safety door from another vendor. I was still undecided about the water-tank. I thought, I'll get a drum later on. Then suddenly, one day she called me to say, that the water-tank work was already done in the house and that she'll ask the builder not to attach any additional bill for the same. Since, she said that a couple of times, I didn't say anything ( maybe, she said that way, else I'd again tell her not to do it, hence, disrupt the work ). Anyhow, after 1 week or so, when I had gone to see what work was completed, she suddenly dumped a bomb on me that I'll have to pay 10k for the water-tank. I was furious. I had never asked for it. Later, back in the office, she started asking me money for it ( as though, I carry money in my bag all the time, duh! ). Since, she was pressurizing so much I said, okay I'll try to pay 7k, not more. I also told her to take the damned thing away. She said, how it was impossible to break it now, it'll damage the house and so on. Anyhow, that day I didn't pay. I needed more time to think. Another day, I was in the site for the door fittings when she called me up, asking for it again. I told her once again, to cancel the thing, that it was an unwanted burden she had dumped on me. Funnily, she lied, then that the worker had threatened never to work for them again, whereas, that time he was standing right in front of me. She did her pressure tactics again. One more day, I had gone to oversee some cement work that needed to be done on that same door, the lady called me at the site and started asking me money. Saying, a worker will come to collect. By this time, I had decided her pressure tactics won't work with me, and put it bluntly to her to take the stuff away, and that I won't pay anything. Her reaction was hysterical to say the least. That evening, I confronted her in the office and she started making up blatant lies that I had said I'd pay. Sure, I had said once or twice, but that was after the thing was made ( and not before, like she was claiming ), and in extreme mental pressure she had put me in. I stood my ground that day, understanding her whole ploy. Not a chance, I thought. She said, to cancel the whole deal then. I said, sure, return whatever I paid in full amount. She said, there was some 'clause' of deducting 20% in cancellation. I was like, wow, you create this mess and I have to pay 20% for your stupidity and greed. I told her, I didn't come here to pay to see her bloody face, give full refund or stay shut. She was shouting at top of her voice hysterically the whole time, as though, shouting would prove her right. She asked the worker to pull the water-tank down. I asked her to take away the stone slab too. She then blackmailed that she'd not complete the pending grill work. Well, I had another answer for that. The Agreement! She had chosen a wrong person to mess with. All in all, I've never seen such an unscrupulous greedy woman in my life, my god. Such a blatant liar too. And to think, she used to say, beware people will try to take money from you. What the fuck was she doing all this while then, I'd like her to reflect upon that. I had later met the builder myself, and told him the whole story. He assured, he'll get the grill work done. But later, when I asked the lady, she again tried playing tricks, that she needed green signal from builder, when in front her only I had made the builder agree to complete the job. I reported the incident and that lady's harassment to the locality's police, so that they can show not just green signal, but all kinds of signals.

[CASE-8] : Bombay Beggars
Begging is a huge Mafia! Try to avoid them as much as possible unless they really need it! Many are quite healthy and fit to work, never ever give them anything. However, some fake their incapacities cleverly as it happened recently. I saw One middle-aged slim woman in the ladies compartment with a haunched back, her face nearly reaching her knees. Everyone took pity on her and started shelling out coins. When a station came, she got down still abnormally bent; however, once on the platform, soon she straightened herself in a perfect erect position with a straight back and walked off into the crowd like a super-model cat-walking the ramp! I was astonished, and at the same time found it hilarious too how she had managed to con everyone by faking the illness! She was perfectly ok!

In another case, I saw a couple beggar, perfectly healthy! Both sing bollywood songs and beg. The man pretends to be blind, while the wife stands behind him and collect the money. Once they prepare to get off from the train, the husband peeps into the steel bowl to see how much was collected! Remember, he was supposed to be blind! His eyes are perfect which he looks upwards and flutters, while pretending; whereas, a normal blind person can be easily spotted!

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