Real Estate Fraud Exposes Vulnerabilities in Digital Transactions
New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS): Real estate fraud is a growing concern in property transactions, with unsuspecting individuals falling victim to various deceptive schemes that exploit the digital economy. The recent case of fraud involving several professors from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi highlights the need for stronger measures to protect consumers.
According to reports, the professors were lured into investing in an affordable housing project under the land pooling policy of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). The mastermind behind the scam, identified as P.D. Gaikwad, a Scientific Officer at JNU, formed the Noble Socio-Scientific Welfare Organisation (NSSWO) to offer fraudulent housing opportunities.
Gaikwad, in his role as the President of NSSWO, convinced the victims to become members and promised them affordable housing units in the L-Zone, Najafgarh. However, it was later revealed that Gaikwad had deceived them from the start, providing false updates on the project’s progress and misappropriating funds totaling over Rs 11 crore.
The fraud came to light when the victims filed a complaint with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police. The investigation uncovered deceptive pictures and representations of the housing project, along with fraudulent inducements in emails depicting DDA’s land pooling policy.
Further scrutiny revealed that the alleged society, Siddhartha Officers Housing & Social Welfare Society, to which Gaikwad suggested switching from NSSWO, was unregistered and had no approval from the DDA.
This case sheds light on the broader issue of real estate fraud, which takes on different disguises and exploits vulnerable individuals. One such method is the misuse of QR codes in online transactions. Cybercriminals have been targeting online real estate broker portals, where they impersonate property sellers and trick them into scanning QR codes that result in unauthorized transactions.
Advocate Anant Malik warns that the receiver of money should not scan anything to receive payment. It is the sender who should follow the guidelines for online transfers. The chain of offenses committed in these cases includes impersonation, cheating, and fraudulently inducing the seller.
While legal remedies can provide some relief, the scale at which such crimes are being committed calls for more stringent laws and specialized training for law enforcement agencies. These cyber-enabled offenses not only breach individual trust but also have far-reaching consequences for the economy, as they discourage newcomers from participating in online financial transactions.
In conclusion, it is crucial to address these vulnerabilities in digital transactions and protect consumers from falling prey to fraudulent schemes. By implementing stronger laws and providing specialized training to law enforcement agencies, we can create a safer digital environment for all.