COVID-19 has had a huge impact on India's online food delivery industry. As we move into a digital era, we have access to an incredible range of delivery options, with apps that can order fast food and fine dining in minutes. Apps like Swiggy and Zomato provide instant food delivery services. Consumers can order food online and have it delivered to their homes via online food delivery services. There are several payment methods on the application or website, as well as a large selection of cuisines.

A Bengaluru man lost Rs 95K by ordering pizza through a food app 

In Bengaluru's Koramangala neighborhood, N.V. Sheikh never imagined he would be able to afford to eat one pizza. In Bengaluru, the techie lost an astonishing INR 95,000 after ordering pizza online and falling victim to an online scam. His pizza order was placed on a food delivery app on his smartphone on the afternoon of December 1, 2019. After waiting for his food for about one hour, he tried contacting the app's customer service, and that's when he fell into the trap of the online scammer.

Having been unable to locate the customer care number, he searched on google for it. When he found the number, he called it. Upon picking up the phone, a man introduced himself as an executive of customer care for the company.  Sheikh was given a link and instructed to submit his complaint along with the details of his online payment app in order to receive a refund.

Unaware of what he would bring upon himself, Sheikh clicked the link and entered his online payment app username. As a result, the fraudsters gained access to his bank details, and they drew INR 95,000 from his account within minutes. According to Sheikh, he was saving up for his mother's cancer treatment. He filed a complaint with the Madiwala Police, who are said to be investigating the case. 

A spokesperson of the food delivery company told The News Minute that the app had only chat and email support for customer care. It did not have a phone number. "While we do everything we can to ensure customer safety and security, we urge our customers to be vigilant and not share their personal or bank account information with anyone," the spokesperson said. 

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Here are a few tips for staying safe online.

1. In most cases, customer service numbers are provided by the company in the application itself. Don't go to Google to find the numbers.

2. Don't give out your personal information, or your bank details to people who ask for them. Except if they are trustworthy.

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

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 #141. 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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