People are exploited on social media by scammers with tricks like free gifts. There is no shortage of people who receive friend requests and messages from fraudsters posing as friends. People usually fall victim to fraudsters using those messages and requests. People are generally aware that such communications are fraudulent and ignore them. Unfortunately, there are some innocent people who misunderstand this to be true, and they end up losing their money. 

The conversation begins with a phone call, friend request, email, SMS, or WhatsApp message. Fraudsters tell the victim that they've sent an expensive gift for them. In order to receive the gifts, the recipient must first pay processing fees or transfer fees. As soon as the fraudsters receive the funds, they will run with their money.

KEM doctor scammed for Rs 2.36 lakh online on the pretext of receiving gifts

Unidentified fraudsters allegedly duped a 27-year-old doctor employed at KEM Hospital out of Rs 2.36 lakh. Under the guise of receiving gifts, the doctor was tricked into paying the amount for various charges.

He is an ENT resident at St GS Medical College attached to KEM Hospital, and he was chatting with a person on Instagram by the name of Ila Manisha.

She told the doctor that she had sent him a parcel that had to be collected from the customs office at Delhi Airport. To claim the gift he was asked to pay Rs 36,000 for clearing charges and delivery.

Following that, he received a call from someone identifying himself as Anup Kumar from the customs office, he requested the doctor to pay Rs 36,950 for clearance. The doctor transferred the amount to the bank account given by the caller. The fraudsters called the complainant again and demanded a payment of Rs 1,99 lakh to clear customs, which the complainant paid in two payments.

A few days later, the fraudster contacted the doctor again and requested another Rs 49,500. He refused to pay further and approached the police.

The police have registered a case of cheating against unidentifiable persons after conducting a preliminary investigation. The police also said they were trying to determine from which location the doctor's phone calls came.

Also Check: Facebook friend duped a woman of Rs.18 lakhs

How to avoid this type of fraud - 

1. Unsolicited offers received via email, text messages, phone calls, or other means should be discarded.

 2. If you receive a call from someone who claims to be a lottery representative, do not pay an advance fee.

3. There are a lot of 'phishing' incidents taking place on social media. Be careful when accepting requests that appear suspicious.

 4. 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 #126. 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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