One day Tony (name changed for privacy) was browsing through Google Discover news on his mobile when he came across an advertisement for MTB for Rs. 999/-. It was a fancy looking electric bicycle being sold at a throw-away price by a fraud website called http://www.pitore.in
Tempted by the lucrative deal, Tony clicked on the advertisement and landed on the website of Pitore Shopping Pvt Ltd. having its office at Sahar Road Andheri East, Mumbai as mentioned in the website information panel.
There were are array of MTB, Electric bicycles and Folding bicycles selling at 91% discount on display and after browsing through the various products Tony selected three bicycles for himself –
- An MTB at Rs.999/-
- A Aluminium alloy Electric bicycle for Rs.1999 and
- A Folding Fat bicycle for Rs. 2999.
However, when trying to make payment for all three products together, the payment was not going through. He then read the reviews of the selected models on the same website and decided to purchase only the Aluminium alloy Electric bicycle for Rs.1999. He proceeded with the purchase and made an online payment with his debit card as Cash on Delivery option was not available due to Coronavirus.
Tony received an email confirmation from PayU app and also from his bank. However, since the bicycle was not delivered as per schedule, he tried to contact Pitore Shopping Pvt. Ltd. on the phone number mentioned but it was only 9 digits and turned out to be fake.
He then sent a email on their email address “email@example.com” mentioned on the website and it bounced. Realizing that he had been cheated, Tony contacted the Mumbai Cyber-cell at BKC, Mumbai and was advised to file a complaint with the central cyber cell, Worli.
As the amount was below Rs. 2 lakhs, Tony was asked to file his complaint with the local police station. After repeated follow-ups, an FIR was registered at the local police station on 4th September 2021.
The information request sent out by the police station to PayU app got a negative reply that the transaction could not be traced and the details of receiving account and bank be obtained from Tony’s bank.
On checking the web review of Pitore.in Tony was amazed at the number of customers defrauded from all over India by the website and all clamoring for their payment to be refunded.
You can read the public complaints against the fraud website here
Tony has observed that a couple of weeks later, the same advertisement under a different name Salesxlir and then again as Cheerio Shopping Pvt Ltd appeared in Google Discover Ads.
Tony is unfortunate to have been cheated by the fraud website http://www.pitore.in but he is determined to see his case reach a conclusion with the help of the police department and the cyber cell team.
He reached out to me and narrated this incident and urges everyone to be alert.
I request you all cycling enthusiasts, first time buyers and all consumers to purchase only from authentic and established brands and online websites. Before, making any online payments please reach out to your trusted sources and a large network of cycling groups for word of caution and advise.
To report a fraud, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Be Safe and share this information in your network.
Cover image: pixabay
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai