Several tasks can be completed online in just a few clicks, thanks to modern technology. The majority of people prefer to purchase or sell goods online. However, modern technology also has many disadvantages. Scammers are targeting people around the world to scam them into believing they are selling pets.

A typical pet scam is usually organized into two phases: In the first phase, the scammer uses scripted messages to earn trust by promising pet care products and a low price to the unsuspecting buyer.

After that, victims are often sent pictures and videos stolen from legitimate breeders so that the buyer will be convinced that the animal exists. During this step, the purpose is to get the victim to hurry up and make a non-refundable deposit payment.

Scammed On Facebook While Buying A Puppy 

As Riddhi browsed online for a puppy to adopt, she spotted an advertisement on Facebook. An individual named Ravi posted it, stating that he had a Golden Retriever puppy for adoption. Ravi claimed to be a worker at Wipro, Hyderabad and, lives in Secunderabad right now. The woman contacted Ravi on WhatsApp using the number listed in the advertisement. He sent her a video of the puppy playing which he downloaded from the internet as proof. Upon asking Ravi about the price, Riddhi was told she only had to pay transportation charges in order to own the dog. he requested her to send Rs 3000/- in advance so that he can set up delivery of the puppy for her.

Seeing the video and with little money to spend, Riddhi transferred Rs 3000/- through a UPI app. She was assured she would receive the puppy within two weeks. After waiting a couple of days, Riddhi asked him to inform the status of the delivery. Ravi began to make excuses, he sometimes said he was at work, at a party, or that he couldn't find transportation. This continued for a while until Ravi blocked her number and blocked her from Whatsapp and Facebook as well. The scammer tricked Riddhi by sending a video he downloaded from the internet that led him to believe the pup was real. Riddhi was left with no other option but to post about her experience on social media.

Also Check: Fraud story #99 - Defrauded while selling a cow.

How to stay safe from fake sellers online - 

1. To make sure that the seller is not trying to cheat you, ask the seller to show you the pet through a video call.

2. It is important to verify any seller you are considering purchasing from social media pages by checking the comment section to see if anything looks suspicious.

3. If you don't know the person, you should never make the payment in advance. 

4. You are less likely to get scammed if you buy and sell in person, you can inspect the item before handing over the money.

5. Use Vouch to make and accept payments. 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 #112. 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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