COVID-19 lockdowns impacted India's online food delivery industry greatly. We are living in an era of the digital economy that offers an astounding amount of delivery options, with apps that can deliver fine dining as well as fast food in minutes. Food can be ordered online and delivered to a consumer's home through online food delivery services. In the name of food delivery, fraudsters have figured out a way to cheat people.

A 'buy one get two free' offer costs a woman Rs 50,000

A 58-year-old woman was scammed out of Rs 50,000 by online fraudsters when she came across an appealing meal deal on social media.

Savita Sharma, who lives in Yelachenahalli, saw the Facebook advertisement and proceeded to call the number. She found out that she could get two free thalis if she purchased one for Rs 250. In the ad was the address of a restaurant located in Sadashivanagar was given and also a phone number belonging to the restaurant. Savita called the number given in the ad, believing it to be a legitimate number, and ordered a meal. The receiver told her that she must pay Rs 10 to book the order, and the remainder can be paid in cash at the time the order is delivered.

To initiate the payment, the man sent Savita a link to her mobile phone, and she blindly shared her debit card details and PIN. After a few minutes, Rs 49,996 was withdrawn from her account. She got to know of the deduction via an SMS alert from her bank. When she tried contacting the same number, it was disconnected.

The next day, Savita approached the South CEN police station and filed a complaint.

Also Check: Fraud Story #81 - Got scammed while buying Oppo phone on OLX

Here are a few tips for staying safe online.

1. Using fake identification makes it easier for fraudsters to gain trust. Make sure you don’t fall for such attempts.

2. Check if the person is genuine before making a purchase from any website. It is due to a large number of fake sellers out there who fool people by putting up fake ads on social media. A fraudster simply disappears once they have collected the payment.

3. Deals that appear too good to be true should never be accepted. In other words, anything being sold for a very low price may not be legitimate.

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 #129. 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