Hyderabad: On April 28, a software engineer from Khajaguda, Hyderabad placed an order for groceries worth over Rs. 1,500 on www.zopnow.in. Having received no SMS confirming his order, he contacted the customer service number and sent an email. He got no response and turned to the police. The website was bogus and it had been deceived.
The website was created by 30-year-old web developer Rishabh Upadhyay from Varanasi. During the lockdown, when many people opted for online shopping, Rishabh set up two websites – www.zopnow.com for groceries and the furniture website www.modwayfurniture.in. People from all over the country, including nine from the Cyberabad police station area, visited these bogus websites. Seven of them were victims of www.zopnow.in and two of www.modwayfurniture.in.
Raidurgam police arrested Rishabh on Friday while Rahul, a digital marketing expert from Punjab, fled.
From victim to aggressor
Rishabh came up with the idea of the bogus websites after being tricked while looking for work on freelance websites www.freelancer.com and www.upwork.com. About three years ago, someone by the name of Prince of the United States contacted him to design a new website called www.jobfinder.info. He finished the project and handed it over to Prince. He later found out that the website was bogus and that many people had been deceived.
Inspired by this, he hatched a plan to launch a similar racket and created fake Skype accounts with fake names. Rishabh contacted people and promised to provide them with work visas while in the United States and asked them to open new bank accounts in SVC Cooperative Bank, Bandhan Bank and Bank of India. He then collected the Internet banking kits via the DTDC messaging service.
He had also developed a fake furniture website www.deckup.com using the credentials of a certain Shivendra Singh Rana. He tried to take orders on the site but the Razorpay account was blocked after a few transactions. He could only withdraw Rs. 28,000 and the remaining money, around Rs. 20 lakh, was blocked by Razorpay.
He had also opened around 20 cashless payment gateway accounts using the credentials of people he had met on Skype or through freelancer.com.
Raidurgam police arrested Rishabh from Bangalore and seized money worth Rs. 40 lakhs, 20 debit cards, phones and passbooks.