has very active members who organise regular events in Pune. These ladies do their best to encourage others and promote the work of women-entrepreneurs who create art and craft material, apparel, etc. Recently, however, the good intentions of the group were marred by a woman called Shehna Jodwani
– an unsuspecting woman who had first joined the group to showcase salwar kameez.
How Shehna Jodwani Cheated Pune Ladies
Last month, a user called Shehna Jodwani uploaded a post on PuLa. She claimed to be a retailer of Pakistani style salwar kameez. Her merchandise was available at very attractive rates. Many women from the group expressed interest in the salwar kameez. As many as 16 of them decided to make a purchase. Shehna asked them to make the payment via PayTM. They did. They waited for many days to receive their products. But the salwar kameez never arrived.
Shehna Jodwani had deleted her Facebook account, phone number and PayTM accounts too. The women had been cheated. While some had been robbed of a few thousand, some had ended up losing as much as Rs. 7000!
The angry women complained to the group admin Sonia Agarwal Konjeti. It wasn’t just a matter of losing money; it was about being cheated on a platform that meant to further friendship, bonding and helping each other. If this could happen on groups where women claimed to be there for each other, how could there ever be any trust or camaraderie?
How The Pune Ladies Tracked The Fraudster – An Amazing Lesson!
Sonia was really hurt and anguised upon receiving all the complaints. She decided to track the fraudster Shehna someway or the other. She says, “The group is like family to me. A number of women had been duped, and I did not want an atmosphere of negativity to prevail on a forum where so many ladies do business. So, I decided to track down the perpetrator myself, and got everyone together to figure out the best possible course of action.” This is what she did next, together with two other group members. This is an excellent lesson for all of us who do online shopping or are part of social media groups.
One question we had when we found out about the incident – why did Sonia not go to the police straightaway? Why did she not file an FIR and let the police track down the criminal?
- Sonia took the help of other PuLa members Deepa Nagpal and Ritika (pictured above) to get PayTM details of Shehna Jodwani. They called PayTM to enquire about this
- The officials at PayTM were cooperative. They shared the details of the number to which the transactions had been made
- It turned out the woman was using a false name! She actually had 4-5 PayTM accounts and gave one number to only 2-3 customers. These false numbers were registered in the name of her so-called husband
- Deepa, a teacher by profession and a PuLa member, had a friend in the police department. With his guidance, they understood how to deal with the situation
- When they called on the number, somebody who claimed to be Shehna’s sister answered the phone. They threatened her with police action if she did not return the money
- Their effort paid off as the woman immediately agreed to refund the money! After Sonia received the full amount, she transferred the same to all the women who had been duped
But Sonia has an answer to this, and we really admire her sentiments. She says, “I didn’t go to the police because we support hundreds of sellers and buyers of a variety of products, some of whom even make their living this way. I did not want even a shred of discouragement to anyone, or the group as a whole to get a bad name just because of one person. This was our way of being there for each other in times of adversity.” Also Read: Shalu Varadkar's Experience as a Mommy Group Admin Proves That All Of Us Need Friends
One Important Takeaway From This Online Shopping Fraud
The way these ladies managed to track down the fraudster and also refund the money to all who had been cheated is indeed an amazing lesson. It shows that when we set our heart to something and have the determination to bring justice to fellow friends and women, we can do anything. However, there is one more important lesson we must learn from this entire incident, so that something like this doesn’t happen to us:
Always Do a Background Check
What is perhaps the most shocking aspect of this crime - Shehna had already been blocked thrice via different Facebook profiles, and that too for cheating customers! This means, her background was already questionable. If only a thorough check had been conducted before making payment, this incident may never have happened.
Whenever you transfer money to an online buyer, always do a thorough check. Ask for credentials, get references of customers, and commit to the transaction on paper. Never blindly trust any online seller, especially when the prices seem way too attractive. You can read here in detail about money traps women must avoid
. Our congratulations, PuLa, for so successfully cracking this case, just like awesome lady detectives! You truly stand for fraternity and woman power! :D
Via Pune Mirror