We call up a customer service number of a company as soon as we encounter an issue with a product or service. The aim of a customer service team at a company is to look into customer complaints and to deal with them. Although the customer support team helps resolve the issue, you must be very careful when calling the team. It's because fraudsters have posted fake customer care numbers to defraud people of their hard-earned money.

Fraudsters posing as customer care executives scammed a 43-year-old man of Rs 45,000 who dialed the helpline number posted on the web. The fraudster - who had uploaded the false helpline number on Just Dial - tricked the complainant, Bhavin Chedda, into installing another app in order to steal money.

A resident of Mumbai was scammed out of Rs 45,000.

Mr. Chedda, an executive with a stock market firm, was having trouble installing a digital payments app on his phone, so he called the customer service number posted on JustDial. Calling the number, the person who answered identified himself as a customer care executive of the company.

Chedda explained his issue to the man. After a brief conversation, he told him he would call him within 15 minutes. When he called back, Chedda was asked to install a remote desktop application, which is capable of checking one's mobile activity from another device with the user's permission. Chedda had no idea what this application was. In accordance with the instructions given to him by the fraudster, he downloaded it, entered an authentication code of 12 digits, and accepted the request.

The fraudster then asked Chedda to type his debit card information onto his phone's keypad. Chedda did not see anything suspicious since he was never asked to share the details with the fraudster. All he had asked him to do was type the details on his phone. During the next few minutes, Rs 45,000 were deducted from his bank account in three transactions.

As the fraudster was still on the call when the money was debited, Chedda demanded an explanation and said he would contact the police. In reply, the fraudster said, “Do what you want”. After that, Chedda approached the cops. 

According to Just Dial, they have no involvement in the amount deducted from the user. The mobile numbers have been blocked from further interaction on their platforms as a precautionary measure.

Also Check: Lottery Fraud: Here Is How To Protect Yourself

How to avoid getting tricked by fraudsters?

1. The information available online must not be blindly believed. Always verify the information before believing it. To contact a specific company, check their official website.

2. Watch out for fraudulent calls requesting you to download third-party apps. Block any calls requesting confidential information.

3. Be sure to uninstall the app as soon as possible if it has already been downloaded.

4. You shouldn't let a stranger guide you through the mobile app installation process. It might be a scam if he wants to modify your mobile settings.

5. 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 #111. 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