Fake Websites Invited Application For MHADA Lottery 2018
Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) has got a case of cheating registered with the Mumbai Police after officials spotted 26 fake websites fraudulently inviting applications for the agency’s upcoming lottery of flats. Investigators said the fraudsters, reportedly a single group that set up multiple fake websites misled prospective applicants to believe that these sites were official portals of MHADA. They planned to accept security deposits that lottery applicants would pay and then flee with the money.
Nobody has come forward yet with a complaint of having paid a deposit through any of these sites. MHADA officials initially approached the cyber police, who have blocked these fake websites, said Senior Inspector.
MHADA’s lottery for the next round of sale of flats built by the agency is scheduled for August, with applications to be accepted from July. All applicants have to pay an earnest money deposit — last year’s applicants had to pay Rs 15,000 deposit for Economically Weak Section (EWS) homes, Rs 25,000 for Lower Income Group (LIG) homes, Rs 50,000 for Middle Income Group (MIG) homes and Rs 75,000 for Higher Income Group (HIG) flats. The earnest money deposit sum changes every year or two and is refundable by MHADA for those who do not win the lottery.
The last 10 lottery draws attracted 14.13 lakh applicants vying for 23,742 houses that were put up for sale.
Investigators have found that the fake websites, including some with names such as mhadalotterygov.in and mhadalottery2017.in, provided step-by-step information to mislead prospective applicants. “We are trying to locate the IP addresses of these fake websites. We believe that as the MHADA is expected to start accepting applications next month, these fraudsters would have defrauded applicants of their deposit sum after misleading them into applying for the lottery through their fake websites,” said an investigator.
Joint chief officer of MHADA said they stumbled on the fake websites that popped up alongside their official website when they did a search for the MHADA lottery. “We noticed that these websites were providing wrong and misleading information. We haven’t released any details on this year’s lottery. We reported the crime to the cyber police in April, following which the case was registered recently,” he said.
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