Published:  12:04 AM, 22 October 2021

All online business scams should be thoroughly investigated

 
The Bengali mind is known for its innovativeness. The Dholai Khal initiative is well-known nearly all over the world. While Dholai Khal brought relief to many and had a positive impact on the economy, innovativeness in other sectors of business has had the most damaging consequences. The business that is hogging the news currently is e-commerce—not for its positive contribution to society and the economy, but for the manner in which a perfectly novel way of trading has been corrupted to exploit people through fraud and deceit.

Another name has been added to the long list of fraudster companies that have cheated unsuspecting customers out of thousands of crores of taka: 24tkt.com, an e-ticketing agency. Reportedly, this particular company has swindled Tk 50 crore out of smaller agencies and customers. What surprises us is that it is not one or two or even a dozen people that 24tkt.com have managed to swindle, but 2,000—yes, 2,000 people. And they have been at it since 2019. The question is: how come? How has it been possible if the custodians have, as they claim, been keeping their antennae honed and their eyes open?

24tkt.com made the best of both worlds. They bought thousands of tickets from larger agencies on credit and sold them to smaller agencies and individuals on cash. And it never paid their creditors. Thus, the ticket was not confirmed—something that the unwary travellers found to their chagrin once they went to check in. We would like to point out that while the amount is comparatively smaller than what the other e-commerce companies like Evaly have swindled out of people, here the sufferers are the expatriates; many of them are workers whose jobs are on the line if they don't report to their workplace in time.

“Bangladesh is fertile ground for e-commerce to take root and benefit companies and consumers alike,” said Shamika N Sirimanne, director of technology and logistics at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in July this year.

We are happy to know that two of the owners of the company have been arrested. Interestingly, nearly 30 e-commerce agencies are currently under surveillance, according to the CID. Unfortunately, there must be loopholes in the system, since so many of them have escaped the net. Our opinion is that the fraudulent ones must be identified and caught before they can do more damage to people. What is the point of arresting a few operatives when the masterminds manage to flee the country? Nipping them ab initio is essential, since the long-drawn legal process allows very little of the swindled money to be returned to the rightful owners.




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