KOLKATA: Several leading restaurants in Kolkata have been forced to take steps against online duping of their customers after many were cheated ever since home delivery services resumed earlier this month. Brands like Aminia, Peter Cat, Oh! Calcutta and 6 Ballygunge Place have alleged that fraudsters have put up advertisements on popular websites that offer food from their outlets at attractive prices, luring buyers into paying up through credit cards. At least a dozen have been cheated over the past two weeks.
A Kolkata Police cyber cell officer said fraudsters were using display advertisements on sites like Facebook and Instagram in the name of some popular eateries of south and central Kolkata and offering a two-for-one deal. “Once the victim clicks on the link, several google forms appear, asking for the orders and payments,” the officer said.
Aminia director Kabir Azhar told TOI the company has lodged a complaint in the cyber cell on June 18 after a customer informed them that he had been cheated while ordering food from the restaurant from a website. “The fraudsters were running a sponsored account on social sites and luring people with attractive deals in our name. We have got some feedback from the cyber cell,” he added.
Anjan Chatterjee, chairman of Speciality Restaurants that owns brands like Oh! Calcutta, Mainland China, Haka and Sigree, said they have filed a complaint on June 17 against fraudulent activity involving Oh! Calcutta . “The fraudsters are targeting leading brands as most of us are now doing home delivery,” he said.
When contacted, the owners of Peter Cat and 6 Ballygunge Place also confirmed that their customers have been cheated by advertisements on social media. “There was a sponsored post on Facebook and some of our customers called us. We complained on June 12,” said Aninda Palit, director of 6 Ballygunge Place group. Peter Cat owner Nitin Kothri also said it has been happening for almost a month now.
Earlier, when members of an inter-state gang were nabbed, it was found that the contact details of a city eatery was allegedly altered on the Google search engine and customers were lured into reserving tables by an offer paying only Rs 10. The alleged fraudsters had inserted their contact details as that of the restaurant and asked customers to book a table by contacting that number, said cops. Cops said during the unlock period alone, they received 16 complaints. “Besides KYC frauds, this is one of the several modus operandi popular among cyber frauds to dupe Kolkatans,” said an officer.