Nowadays, most people prefer shopping online for almost everything. It is possible to buy a wide variety of products online, such as clothes, footwear, cosmetics, books, groceries, medicines, and furniture.

The convenience factor and the fact that it saves a lot of money and time are the reasons why people prefer online shopping. There are, however, several risks that are associated with online shopping. There has been an increase in fraud related to online shopping as the craze for online shopping increases.

Purchasing furniture online caused a businessman in Delhi to lose Rs 2.5 lakhs in a new online shopping fraud.​

Buying furniture online led to a businessman losing Rs 2.5 lakhs.

A businessman from Delhi recently attempted to purchase furniture online for his office. When looking through the website, he discovered a seller who described himself as a retired military officer. The seller offered to sell furniture at a lower price than other sellers in order to win over the businessman. He was then asked to make the payment as soon as possible.

The victim was so excited to get the furniture at a lower price that he made the payment right away. The fraudster sent the victim a text message containing a link to the payment. This text message had the following text: 'Add UPI money', 'Successful money transfer', and a link to a website.

Upon clicking on the link to make the payment online, the fraudster gained remote access to the victim's phone. That link allowed the fraudster to take over the victim's phone. In addition to messages and photos, he was able to check everything on the victim's phone. As a result, the fraudster was able to wipe out money from the victim's bank account, since he had access to the OTP sent to the victim's mobile number.  Through this online shopping fraud, the businessman lost 2.5 lakhs.

Also Check: Fraud Story #144 - Two cases of online fraud reported in Bhopal

How can such fraud be avoided?

1. When a seller provides you with an offer that seems too good to be true, you have to be very careful. If the seller is offering you the product at a very low rate, you may ask how he would make money on it.

2. You should never click on links sent to you through unknown emails or SMS. You should never give out any personal information over the phone, including credit card numbers, CVVs, and OTPs.

3. Use caution when shopping on an unknown online shopping portal. Confirm the website is secured with HTTPS. The website's URL should start with HTTPS. This shows it is secure.

4. The use of digital escrow platforms for payments is recommended. When you make an online payment with Escrow, no financial information is shared. 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 #152. 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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