Every second person who tries to sell something through OLX and Facebook has got a call from a person who claims to be an Army officer living in the same city as the seller. 

It's easy for people to get a thousand different pictures of army officials on the internet - use them as profile pictures and scam the innocent sellers.

2,650 rupees scam

There were a number of phone calls from local people asking for the delivery of fish made by an Aluva native near the Aluva market. They primarily used digital payment methods. It was not a surprise when an Army officer called about delivering fish, as it was nothing new. The officer on the phone said that he would send one of his subordinates to collect the fish.

Having a UPI ID, the trader asked the officer to transfer the money to his account since he already had one for receiving money from customers. Due to concerns over security, however, the officer declined to transfer the funds over UPI. His solution was to use the fishmonger's debit card details to send the money.

The shopkeeper sent the person's debit card details with the PIN since he claimed to be an Army officer. His realization that he had been duped was prompted by a message from his bank. Approximately 2,650 rupees were stolen from him.

Similarly, Subin who runs a poultry business in Keezhmad managed to escape online scammers after he faced the same experience. He also received a call from someone who claimed to be an Army officer. Furthermore, he requested the ATM details and ordered 15 kg of meat. He sent this scammer the debit card details of his unused account, which only had a balance of Rs 2. Since he felt it was a scam, he sent his unused account details. He would have lost his money if he had shared the bank details.

It has become a trend in scammer circles to use Army officers' profiles to swindle people. Recent reports indicate over ten such instances have taken place in rural areas.  Most of them, however, were not willing to talk about it.

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. 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

Frauds over OLX

More than 4000 cases of fraud were reported over the last year amongst which in maximum cases the conmen posed as army officials. In a lot of cases, the victims were unable to get the lost money back. 

How do they win trust? - AADHAR and ID CARDS

Maximum of scammers over the internet who pose as army officials have fake identity proofs such as Aadhar cards. They often send pictures of their fake Aadhar to the victims to win their trust and in maximum cases, they succeed.

What to do if you get a call from such a scammer?

  1. Verify details of buyer/seller before proceeding to payment.
  2. Any individual showing urgency or not waiting for a reasonable amount of time is likely to be a scammer.
  3. Don't scan a QR Code or visit a link sent by anybody over the internet.
  4. Avoid accepting or making advance payment. Accept only if the payment is made through Vouch. In case you are the one who's supposed to pay - Do it through Vouch.
  5. Fraudsters use fake identification of the army to gain trust. Keep a check on such attempts.

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 #104. Check back here for more fraud chronicles and scams that you can protect yourself from.

Safety is not just about protecting your credit or debit card number. 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 how to avoid frauds like these. Do you have a fraud that you would like to report? Please write to us at