As a result of cybercrimes involving Remdesivir, scammers are now taking advantage of Liposomal Amphotericin, the drug used to treat Black Fungus or Mucormycosis. As in this case, fraudsters gained the trust of their victim by using the name of a legitimate company. 

Fraudster cheated techie of 79,000 rupees over Black Fungus drug

An engineer, 27 years old, was duped online of Rs 79,000 by ordering Liposomal Amphotericin vials on behalf of his uncle who had been diagnosed with Black Fungus in mid-May. 

In JP Nagar’s 2nd phase, Ayush Amrith Porwal has filed a police complaint against HLL Lifecare Limited for cheating and breach of trust, and the police are yet to issue a notice to the company and summon its staff for questioning.

Currently, Porwal works for an MNC as a senior software engineer. For the treatment of his uncle Prakash Jain, who was infected with black fungus on May 13th, large amounts of the medication "Amphoterecine B Liposomal" were necessary. To treat his uncle's infection, Porwal was told that 72 vials of the mentioned injections would be required. His uncle was admitted to the Fortis Hospital located on Bannerghatta Road.

When he and his sister were looking online for Liposomal Amphotericin injections, they found a number for a person claiming to be an employee of HLL Lifecare, and they began communicating with him through Whatsapp on May 13th.

He said they only had ten vials with them, which they could deliver after the payment was made within two hours. To prove that the company is a genuine one, the 'employee' sent legal documents on Whatsapp and requested Porwal to fill out some forms to initiate a purchase request. Porwal did so. Porwal was asked to transfer Rs 79,000 as an advance for the 10 vials later on.

Having not received the vials after two hours, Porwal tried contacting the same number, but it remained disconnected. He waited for some more time, he checked to see if he would receive the package or if he could get in touch with the number. When neither occurred, he started looking for other alternatives.

It was then that his sister told him that injections had to be arranged somehow and they contacted two pharmacies, one in Chamrajpet and the other in Jayanagar, to get Liposomal Amphotericin in a timely manner. They were able to obtain the remaining vials from the hospital.

Luckily, Porwal said, his uncle was cured and released from the hospital on Tuesday. Following this, Porwal went to the police commissioner and reported what had happened to him. Upon questioning him about the contact number and the transaction, he told the police that they had found the number online, and the conversations took place over Whatsapp on May 13th. The beneficiary was listed clearly as HLL Lifecare Limited when he transferred Rs 79,000, which led them to think nothing of it.

Afterward, the commissioner's office directed a case to be taken up by the jurisdictional police station. On May 24, Porwal went to the JP Nagar police station and filed a complaint saying he had been the victim of a scam. 

Also Check: Man Lost ₹1.81 Lakh to Medicine Supplier Fraud

How to avoid this kind of fraud?

1. Be sure to verify the caller's details before providing him with any personal information. Authentic companies and banks will never ask for your sensitive information.

2. Always do a thorough search about a company before buying. Read reviews about the company. Avoid buying from a company with poor ratings.

3. If the seller insists on requiring advance payment, it is wise not to make one. Paying the advance will result in them running away. There is a possibility that the seller may block your number after receiving your 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 #145. 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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