Online shopping is convenient and offers a variety of discounts. Most people prefer shopping online because it saves time in today's busy world. Online shopping allows you to purchase a wide selection of products from the comfort of your own home. However, online shopping also has its drawbacks. With the growing number of people shopping online, online shopping fraud is on the rise. As fraudsters become more skilled, they come up with new tricks to defraud innocent people of their hard-earned money.

How a woman lost 82,000 rupees

One woman from Pune ordered a ring worth 107 rupees from an online shopping website on November 3rd, 2018. As the ring didn't fit her, she requested a return, and the product was returned. When she did not receive a refund, she contacted the online shopping portal's customer service. After picking up the phone, the customer service representative asked for the victim's card information in order to process the refund. She was also required to provide an OTP in order to process the refund. To get her refund, the victim shared her OTP. Upon providing the OTP, her account was debited with Rs 1,600.

The victim filed a complaint on the online shopping website after losing Rs 1,600. A customer service representative contacted her later and promised to help with the refund. This time, she had to provide the information for another card. To receive the refund, she provided the card details of her father this time.

After providing the card details, scammers sent a link to the victim's father's phone number, asking her to turn off the phone once the link was clicked. The victim turned off the phone once the link was clicked. When she turned on her phone after a while, she saw that Rs 20,000 had been withdrawn from her account. Upon contacting the fraudsters, her father was assured that the money would be refunded by the next morning. Yet another shock awaited them. Upon checking his bank balance, the father discovered that they had withdrawn another Rs 60,000 from his account.

Also Check: Fraud Story #146- A businessman lost Rs 87,000 to QR code scam

How to avoid this fraud -

1.  Do not call the number shown on a Google search. Check the official website of the company instead.

2. Do not divulge your personal information to anyone over the phone. In no case will a bank or a reputed company ask for your personal information like your card number, CVV, or OTP over the phone.

3. You shouldn't let a stranger guide you through the mobile app installation process. If he requests to modify your mobile settings, it might be a scam.

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 #153. 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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