Beware of Fake Online Shopping Portals
In recent years, online shopping has grown rapidly. More and more people are shopping online every day. Customers love online shopping mainly because it's convenient and there are so many offers and discounts available.
Comparing online shopping with offline shopping, you can save a lot of money. The scope of online shopping is expanding, and therefore online shopping portals are also increasing. India has several online shopping websites.
There is one sad thing, though. That is not every online shopping portal is genuine. There are many fake online shopping portals that are set up in order to cheat online shoppers. Police in Delhi recently arrested two men accused of scamming over 500 people out of Rs 80 Lakh by creating fake shopping portals that offered attractive prizes. Many people in India have lost money through online shopping portals like these.
Here is what exactly happened
A fake online shopping site called www.kart4all.com had been set up by fraudsters. Websites are designed in a way that makes users think they are real. It seemed authentic and professional. Fraudsters operated this site from an in-house call center. Free gifts were being offered as promotions for the website as a way of taking advantage of people.
Fraud was exposed after police were contacted by one of the victims. According to the complainant, he was called by someone claiming to be from Kart4all.com. According to the caller, the victim had won a gift that could be a Dell laptop, Sony LED TV, or an iPhone 7. To be eligible for the gift, he needed to purchase anything worth more than Rs 550 from the portal.
The victim purchased products worth Rs 650 from the portal in order to receive the gift and chose the Dell laptop as a gift. The victim got a call the next day from the same person asking him to pay GST of Rs 12,600 on the free gift. Once he had deposited Rs 12,600, he was again asked to deposit Rs 27,000 for shipping insurance. The victim believed this to be true, so he deposited Rs 27,000 to the fraudster's account.
Several days later, he received another phone call from the fraudster stating the laptop couldn't be shipped due to some technical difficulties. Further, they told him that they would refund the money, but he had to deposit Rs 5,000 more. He transferred Rs 5,000 to the fraudster's account in order to save the price he had already paid.
When he paid more money and didn't receive a refund, he filed a complaint with the Delhi police.
How to save yourself from fake online shopping portals?
1. Whenever you see an offer that appears too good to be true, don't believe it. If the portal is presenting you with enticing offers, be very cautious.
2. Always do a thorough search about a company before buying. Read reviews about the company. Avoid buying from a company with poor ratings.
3. You should never pay money to get a gift. Fraudsters ask you to pay money under the guise of various fees, such as GST, shipping charges, etc.
4. 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 #105. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org