Advertising online has become very easy with social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Because of the lockdown, people have become more dependent on online platforms to buy clothes, news, and healthcare items. Scammers have benefited from the rise of online shopping as well. Most of them use social media ad tactics posing as sellers and requesting advance payments to defraud innocent people. 

Scammed On Facebook Marketplace

Ashima Sharma lives in Australia and was seeking to buy Indian dresses. She discovered a Facebook store named Yuvika Fashion Feista. She wanted to buy six different suits in three different sizes, totaling 18 suits in all. Having asked the lady, who is the owner of the store, whether the sizes 40, 42, and 44 were available, the owner of the store confirmed the availability of the sizes. According to Ashima, she placed a wholesale order for 18 suits on 7-Aug-2021. 18 suits amounted to Rs.30,150/-, and they wanted her to pay in advance. The payment was made on the same day as the order was placed.

Ashima specifically requested the lady to show her order over a video call before packing the order. She received a photo of her order in a box with a shipping seal attached to the box instead of a video call, which she had requested. In addition, Ashima was again asked for Rs.13,650 in shipping charges, which she immediately paid. 

The order was received by Ashima on 18-Aug-2021. In opening her order, she discovered that it wasn't what she ordered. There were only 3 suits that she had ordered - all the other suits were different and of the wrong size. It appeared the owner shipped the goods to Ashima to clear out their existing stock. All of the items she received were of low quality and did not match up with the pictures on the website. When Ashima tried to call the owner, she didn't answer. After a few attempts, she finally got the owner to answer her call. When Ashima confronted her about the fraud, the owner started arguing with her and refused to accept responsibility.

To warn other people not to be scammed, Ashima shared her story on Facebook.

Also Check: Duped by the fake army officers

How to stay safe from fake sellers on social media?

1. Find out ways in which the seller can be verified, check the comment section carefully before buying from any social media pages.

2. Anyone who shows urgency or doesn't wait for a decent amount of time is likely to be a scammer. You should never pay someone in advance if you do not know him or her.

3. You should never scan a QR code, share an OTP, or visit a link given by anyone on the internet.

4. Using digital escrow platforms as a payment method is preferred. When you pay through an Escrow payment system over the internet, you are not sharing your information with strangers. One such platform for escrow is 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 #113. 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