Every day, fraudsters learn new methods for scamming people and making quick money. There have been lots of people who have fallen victim to the tricks played by fraudsters and lost money. When people are trying to buy articles on OLX or Quikr, fraudsters are now sending fake tracking website links.

 By using these fake tracking websites, fraudsters tell their victims the address of the parcel and ask them to pay to receive it. The purpose of this blog is to explain how this fraud works and how you can stay safe. 

Engineering Student Lost Rs.41,600 while buying camera accessories.

An engineering student came across an advertisement on Quikr when he was looking to buy camera accessories online. As soon as he saw the advertisement, he messaged the seller.

 Shiven Shaket, the seller, reached out to tell him more details about the accessories. Apparently, the seller requested that the buyer pays in advance for the total of Rs 23,000 for the accessories. The student only paid Rs 11,000 and said he would pay the remainder after receiving the product.

Once the student paid the amount, the seller provided a link with tracking information for the parcel to the student. Checking the link, he found that the parcel had been dispatched from the United Arab Emirates. By following that link, the student followed the shipment. The following day, data showed that the parcel had arrived in New Delhi. Moreover, it showed that the parcel was delayed on account of Countervailing Duty CVD charges of Rs 12,600. Furthermore, it stated that this amount was to be refunded.

The student immediately called the seller and informed him of the customs charges.  The seller convinced the student to pay the charges by stating that the money would be refunded. Because the website appeared genuine, the student trusted it to be so, so he paid the amount.

Upon checking the link the next day, he found that he had to pay Rs 18,000 in import fees and clearance fees. The student thought something was wrong and called the seller. After having some discussion, he was convinced again by the seller, who assured him of a refund. Having not received the refund or the parcel, the student asked the seller to deliver the product as soon as possible.

The student visited the official website and typed the tracking ID after believing something was wrong. However, no results were displayed. As he compared the content of the link he received from the seller with the original website, he then realized it was a fake website.

Once he realized that he was being cheated, he approached the police and filed a complaint. The accused's bank account was frozen before any more money could be withdrawn.

Also Check: Got scammed while buying Oppo phone on OLX

Here are some tips to stay safe while shopping online:

1. Do your research

Make sure the online shopping portal is genuine before purchasing products. You can determine this by doing some research. Make sure you read an online review before purchasing. Steer clear of purchases if you find plenty of negative reviews online. It is safest to shop online with a company you already know or trust.

2. Check the website encryption

If you buy something online, you must always check the URL. The URL must begin with HTTPS. This shows that the website is secure and that payments made by you are secure. To protect yourself from online fraud, shop only on a secure website. 

3. Make payment through a digital escrow platform

It is recommended that digital escrow platforms be used for payment. When making an online payment with Escrow, you do not share your financial information with anyone. There is a platform for escrow called Vouch

How does digital escrow work?

In digital escrow, a third-party account holds the money deposited by the buyer until the seller fulfills the terms of the contract. The escrow company supervises the transacting parties.

What is the role of Digital Escrow in preventing online fraud in India? 

Digital escrow services are offered by many companies in India. Among the most trusted is Vouch.

Vouch’s Digital Escrow service is a transparent way for buyers and sellers to build trust and secure a clean transfer of product and payment. Sellers can feel assured that they will be fairly compensated promptly, and buyers will feel confident that their order will be delivered as expected and on schedule. Vouch Digital Escrow keeps you updated and informed at every step of the transaction process till the end. Vouch’s professionals are always available to assist you with all queries that you may have during the entire transaction process. 

There is no scope for deceit or fraud since the payments, shipping, delivery, and execution are carried out under the honest and watchful eyes of the Vouch’s professionals. With Vouch, any business transaction becomes transparent, uncomplicated, and hassle-free. If you ever come across a fraudster asking for OTP, asking you to scan a QR code, or asking you to click on phishing links, you can simply refuse and ask him/her to proceed with the transaction through Vouch.

This is Fraud Story #103. Check back here for more fraud stories and scams that you can protect yourself from.

Safety is not just about protecting your credit, debit card number, and UPI accounts. It's about having control of your money till you've received the product or service you bought online!

Note: This is a good-faith initiative to educate the world about avoiding frauds like these and how to act when you're becoming a victim of such a situation. 

Do you have a fraud you would like to report? Please write to us at letstalk@iamvouched.com