Online shopping has grown rapidly in recent years. Almost everyone shops online nowadays. Online shopping is popular among consumers because it's convenient and there are so many offers and discounts.

You can save a lot of money if you compare online shopping with offline shopping. Due to the growth of online shopping, there is a rise in online shopping portals. In India, there are several online shopping websites.             

However, there is one sad thing. Not every online shopping portal is authentic. Many fraudulent online shopping portals are set up in order to defraud online shoppers.

A student loses 1.4 lakh due to online fraud, receives a bundle of waste paper instead of a laptop

During the lockdown, a girl student lost Rs 1.14 lakh to an online scam after ordering a laptop online. On an online shopping site, she ordered a laptop worth Rs 1,14,700 and received a stack of waste paper. An investigation has been initiated by the cyber police after they received a complaint from the girl and contacted a private company in Haryana. The company has denied allegations in response to the police inquiry. After the cyber police have gathered scientific evidence, the company declares that they will refund the amount.

Several months ago, an engineering student from Paravur found a laptop through an online shopping site and bought it using her mother's bank account. The parcel arrived within one week. Upon opening it, she found only old papers instead of the laptop.

During the opening of the parcel, the student captured visuals. In addition to this video, the student filed a complaint with the online shopping site. But she claimed that they did not act upon the complaint. After this, the student contacted the district police chief and a special team led by the police superintendent of the Aluva Cyber Police Station investigated the matter.

After some digging, the team discovered that a Haryana-based company had sold the laptop through the online shopping site. Additionally, the company also sells products related to agro-herbalism. When the probe team contacted the company, they dismissed the student's allegations. However, based on scientific evidence and investigations, the company agreed to return the money paid for the laptop.

How to save yourself from fake online shopping portals?

1. Don't believe any offer that seems too good to be true. When the portal presents you with enticing offers, be very cautious.

2. Research a company thoroughly before making a purchase. Look for reviews about the company. Never buy from a poor-rated company.

3. If you don't know enough about the shopping portal, you shouldn't make an advance payment.

 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 #135. 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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