A few days ago, I was scammed. Here is how:
I am in the process of registering a company, and my aunt and I are the directors. We had applied for Director Identification Numbers (DIN) as is mandated, and had received the confirmation by email some time ago.
On 16th August, my aunt received a VPP (Value Payable Post) package, with what appeared to be documents or a booklet inside. She was asked to pay Rs. 1000/- for it – Rs. 950/- is the value of the booklet, and Rs. 50/- is the postage. She refused, since she was not expecting a delivery of any sort. We spoke about it, but since she was not aware that it had her DIN on it, we assumed it was a random scam.
I received the package today. I saw that my DIN was printed on the shipping label, and I assumed it was from the MCA. I paid the Rs. 1000/-, again assuming this was valid and important documentation. I then called the CA firm who is handling the registration in a panic, wondering if my aunt should have accepted her package too. The CA was surprised to hear of this parcel, and said that one copy between the both of us should suffice. Fair enough.
When we opened the parcel, we found poorly photocopied booklets which, yes, were relevant to a new director, but were easily (and freely) available online. My mother smelled a rat, and we Googled it. Of course, this turned out to be a scam.
She then rang the local (Matunga East) post office in order to try and halt the transaction. We were prepared to lose the money, but very loth to have a scammer win the day. Unfortunately, since 4 or 5 hours had passed since I accepted the package, the post office manager did not have the authority to halt the transaction. He, in all fairness, tried speaking to one of the officers, but they proclaimed inability to do anything. Apparently the transaction is instantaneous. The only advice they could proffer is that we shouldn’t have accepted the package at all.
In spite of being suspicious of any and all unsolicited material, calls and the like, I was taken in. The package looked very much like a kit printed by a government organisation, in terms of quality and so on. Even after my aunt’s experience of the day before, I was still taken in.
Things I learned:
– I didn’t know that DIN information, along with names and addresses are publicly available. I do now.
– Never ever pay for anything you haven’t ordered. I already knew this, but official-looking stuff fooled me.
– The method of transmission (Speed Post) is not fraudulent, so I was lulled into a false sense of security. If it had been a courier, I would have slammed the door on the guy’s face.
– The amount is priced just right. A higher price would have thrown up a red flag. A small amount doesn’t mean I should have accepted its legitimacy without question.
I hope no one else falls into this trap. We are not bemoaning the loss of money, but the fact that a scammer won this round. Please share this post to spread awareness. Thank you.
PS: If anyone knows of a way to put a final stop to this, I would be very happy to help in any way. I detest cheats in all forms and shapes.
Address printed on the label: “Surya Publication Level 5, Tower C, 3C Green Boulevard, Sector 62, NODIA [sic] – 201 307. If undelivered, please return to address: Plot 64 (Ground Floor), Surya Nagar, BBSR – 751003”