June 25, 2024

Pune’s famed Kayani Bakery can finally breathe easy. They’d been contending with an avalanche of customer complaints over a cyber scam. Pretend online sites and fraudulent Google listings were created under the bakery’s name, duping their patrons.

“We’re no longer getting any complaints,” declared Rustom Kayani, a Kayani Bakery associate. On April 19, he indicated that a letter seeking the dismissal of their online scam complaint was presented to Pune city police’s Lashkar station.

The letter outlined that, “Google has delisted the phony contact details of the imposter, and their deceitful activities have substantially reduced. For about two months now, we’ve been fraud complaint-free… We have no information on whether the scammer who swindled us and our customers has been apprehended. Hence, we’d like to request you to shut down this issue… Of course, if complaints surface again or we suspect fraudulent online activities, we’ll immediately alert you.”

Police sources stated that the individuals behind the online scam exploiting Kayani Bakery’s identity are yet to be detected.

Previously, on January 19, The Indian Express first disclosed how cyber crooks cloned Kayani Bakery’s website and forged a Google listing to carry out a massive scam.

Festive offer

The report had outlined that when someone searched “Kayani Bakery” on Google, the first result was the fraudulent Google listing, equipped with a contact number labeled as “Kayani Bakery” on the True Caller application. The cyber swindlers then coaxed unsuspecting patrons to place their orders via WhatsApp using this number.

To complete the heist, the swindlers would manipulate customers into sending money for their purchases via QR scanners and OTP numbers. Illicit online transactions were then used to defraud customers, siphoning substantial amounts from customers’ bank accounts.

Quite predictably, many customers showed up in person at the Kayani Bakery to recoup their money. The bakery owners and staff had to pacify irate customers, assuring them that they were innocent victims of the scam.

However, with the customer complaints multiplying, the bakery owners lodged an official complaint with the Lashkar police on January 17 about the imposter using their brand name for deceitful transactions.

“We informed our customers that Kayani Bakery never asks for OTPs for transactions. We only accept payments via cash or card directly at our bakery or through Zomato for deliveries within Pune. Besides police authorities, Google was also alerted about the fraudulent listing linked to Kayani Bakery. Initial responses from Google were lukewarm; however, following media coverage, Google’s representatives contacted us and subsequently pulled the fraudulent details posted by the online swindlers,” explained Rustom Kayani.

“Now, actual information about the bakery is displayed when ‘Kayani Bakery’ is searched on Google, and no further grievances have been presented by our customers. Consequently, we’ve asked the police to end the inquiry into the online fraud. Should we detect any fraudulent activities in the future, the authorities will be informed immediately,” said Kayani.

News of their request was confirmed by senior police inspector Rajendra Magar. He confirmed, “We have received Kayani Bakery’s complaint withdrawal request. Future actions have been undertaken accordingly.”

Earning the 18th position in the “Taste Atlas” food guide’s list of the World’s 150 legendary dessert places, Kayani Bakery, a stalwart of Pune since 1955, continues to evoke a sense of nostalgia among its patrons.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First Published: 25-04-2024, 22:12 IST