Whenever we encounter a problem with a product or service, we contact customer service. The purpose of a customer service team is to examine complaints from customers and to respond to them. Although customer support helps resolve the issue, you should be extremely careful when calling them. In order to trick people out of their hard-earned money, fraudsters have posted phony customer care numbers.

Fraudsters posing as customer care executives scammed a CISF constable of Rs 1.24 lakh who dialed the helpline number posted on the web. The fraudster - who had uploaded the false helpline number on Google search - tricked the complainant, Ananda Shelke, into installing another app in order to steal money.

Online fraudsters scam CISF constable out of Rs 1.24 lakh

The complainant is Ananda Shelke, a BARC employee. He was duped of Rs 1.24 lakh by a fraudster pretending to be a courier-logistics company executive. 

Shelke’s wife had ordered sarees from a popular e-commerce site. The delivery was not on time, therefore, Shelke tracked the product's delivery. Through the internet, Shelke found the customer care number of the shipping company.

When he contacted the shipping company, he asked for the contact information of the delivery boy who would deliver his order. To re-verify the complainant’s address, the executive emailed him a link and asked him to make a payment of Rs 5. Upon clicking the link, Shelke proceeded to make a transaction of Rs 5; however, his transaction was declined and the executive instructed him to download a remote access application. 

As soon as the app was opened, the user was prompted to allow certain permissions. Later, Shelke's account was debited for Rs 50,000. He was told by the executive that the money would be refunded soon, and he was asked to let the app process.

Having followed the instructions, he got his *50,000 and *24,000 deducted again. After realizing that he had been duped, Shelke approached the police.

An investigation is currently underway into a case of cheating and impersonation at Trombay.

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 #122. 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