Online scammers use names of Vidyarthi Bhavan, Konark

Online scammers use names of Vidyarthi Bhavan, Konark

See your favourite restaurants offering deals and discounts on social media? Be wary, it could be a scam

Famous for its dosas, 78-year-old Vidyarthi Bhavan in Gandhi Bazaar only serves tiffin items. PV Photo by Ranju P

On Sunday, a Facebook page called Vidyarthi Bhavan offered three ‘thalis’ for the price of one. What’s wrong, you ask? The well-known restaurant in Gandhi Bazaar doesn’t serve thalis.

Famous for its dosas, the 78-year-old restaurant only has tiffin items on its menu. Arun Adiga, managing partner, was alerted to the online scam by a friend.

“He sent me a screenshot of the post, asking if we had started anything new. I tried calling the number there. After repeated calls, I got through and asked about the offer, without revealing I was the owner’s son,” he says. 

The man on the line spoke fluent Hindi and knew all details about the restaurant, but knew no Kannada.

“I spoke to him as a customer. I asked him about the restaurant and he said that it was in Gandhi Bazaar. He said I had to place an order online, using my credit card, and initially pay just Rs 10,” Adiga says.

After Adiga revealed his identity, there was a heated exchange of words. The scammer soon disconnected the call, and did not answer further calls. Adiga posted about the scam on Vidyarthi Bhavan’s social media handles and alerted his customers.

The ad that was posted
by the fake page claiming
to be of Vidyarthi Bhavan,
on October 10.

By evening, customers were calling the restaurant asking about the meals.

“Some came over asking if we had takeaway thalis,” he says.

Adiga has lodged a complaint at the Cyber Crime, Economic Offences and Narcotics (CEN) police station at Banashankari. 

“I also complained to Facebook about the fake page. Nothing has happened so far,” he says.

What did the Facebook post say?

On October 10, a fake page of Vidyarthi Bhavan with 22 followers posted an ad: “Buy 1 Thali And Get 2 Thali Free First Order. Call Only 7076566757 Price 250 rupees.” The real Vidyarthi Bhavan page has more than 16,000 followers. The restaurant specialises in dosas, and does not serve meals. 

Konark targeted from Jharkhand

Konark restaurant on Residency Road was the victim of a similar scam in July. Rammurthy K, managing partner of the restaurant, says, “A friend told me about a post saying we were offering meals on discount.” He called the number and revealed to the scammer that he was the hotel owner.

“He used foul language and dared me to take action,” he recalls.
Ramamurthy lodged a complaint at the Halasuru police station. “Police officials told me they had traced the caller to Jharkhand. They also said that if it happened again, they would take action,” he says.