Since the advent of technology, our lives have been transformed. Today, most of the things can be accomplished online, making life much easier. One can conduct banking, shop, book tickets, pay bills, and more on the internet.

Although many people use the internet for a variety of reasons, online fraud is also on the rise. You can lose lakhs of rupees if you make a single mistake. Due to this, making any online transaction and updating your eWallet should be taken very seriously.

Mumbai doctor loses Rs 17 lakh to online fraud

In Mahim, a 69-year-old doctor lost around Rs 17 lakh to online fraud after he shared his bank account details with a fraudster claiming to be a representative of an eWallet service provider. Under the guise of providing instructions for linking bank accounts to the eWallet, the fraudster obtained the doctor's banking information and used it to commit the fraud.

The victim tied his mobile number to his bank account, the bank account of his daughter, and the bank account of his son living in the United States. The accused fraudulently transferred funds from two of these three accounts.

Dr. Prakash Mahadev Aberdekar is a consultant with a variety of hospitals and an anesthesiologist who resides on LJ Road in Mahim.

He maintains a bank account with the State Bank of India branch in Mahim. His daughter Prachi, an ophthalmologist living in Kurla, and his son Pranit, an engineer living in the United States, have accounts at the same branch as well. The three accounts were all linked to Amberdekar's mobile number.

Amberdekar states in his FIR that on January 8, he was contacted by someone claiming to be an executive from an eWallet company. The executive explained how the eWallet could be linked to his bank account in order to avail of its benefits. As part of the process, Dr. Amberdekar provided details of his bank account, after which he began receiving OTPs.

When Dr. Amberdekar noticed something was fishy, he immediately changed the password of his net banking account, after which he stopped receiving OTP messages. A short time later, however, the victim started receiving OTP requests again. After that, he contacted the bank's customer service and requested the blocking of his net banking account.

Dr. Amberdekar learned on January 21 that someone fraudulently transferred funds from his son and daughter's accounts while he was checking the status of a cheque deposited for clearing. There was a total transfer of Rs 16.90 lakh from the two bank accounts to other bank accounts, according to the complaint.

Amberdekar contacted the bank, claiming those transactions had been made without his consent. Amberdekar then reported the incident to the police. It has been reported that the victim did not share the OTP details with the fake representative of the eWallet. It is unclear how exactly the crime was committed without the complainant providing the OTP details.

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

1. Be sure to verify the caller's details before providing him with any personal information. Authentic companies and banks will never ask for your sensitive information. 

2. Do not scan a QR Code or visit a link sent by anybody over the internet.

3. Using a digital escrow platform is a good idea. Payments can be made and accepted using Vouch. It is a digital escrow service that releases your payment once your desired service is provided. 

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 #110. 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. 

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