Scam to Sell World's Largest Statue Online Fails

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Police in India have foiled a cyber-criminal's attempt to sell the world's biggest statue online for $4bn.

Cops took action after learning that an unidentified fraudster was trying to flog the 597-foot-tall "Statue of Unity" on the online Indian marketplace OLX. 

The mighty statue, which stands in the western state of Gujarat, portrays statesman and independence activist Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel, known as Sardar Patel, who was one of the founding fathers of India. Completed in 2018, the statue took five years to build and stands twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty. 

The scoundrel behind the fake sale fraudulently claimed that the proceeds from it would fund the Gujarat state government's ongoing fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"Some unknown person placed an advertisement on OLX on Saturday stating he needs to sell the Statue of Unity for ₹30,000 crore to meet the requirement of money to buy hospitals and healthcare equipment," a Kevadiya police station official said.

Indian police lodged a cheating and forgery case against the unknown fraudster last week. The audacious statue-for-sale ruse is the latest COVID-related scam to hit India.

Police and internal security officials said many Indians and non-resident Indians (NRIs) had fallen prey to fake versions of the flagship "PM CARES Fund" payments interface that look deceptively similar to the original.

“We have received over 8,300 complaints from individuals across India and NRIs who have donated thousands of dollars into fake accounts,” said a senior home ministry official.

The CEO of National Payments Corporation of India, an umbrella organization for retail payments, Dilip Asbe, added: “We have already blocked all handles with permutations and combinations of the ‘PM Cares Fund’ that were illegitimate, and we are being watchful and ensuring that the handles for donations get verified."

According to Gulf News, other cyber-scams operating in India right now that are exploiting the coronavirus outbreak include one in which fraudsters impersonate the streaming service Netflix. Using the lure of a discounted subscription while India's 1.3 billion people are under lockdown, the scammers steal victims' personal information and card payment details.

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