Scams involving QR codes are on the rise in BengaluruFor contactless payments, Quick Response codes are used. These codes allow you to make payments by scanning them. This technology makes it easy to pay for goods and services since the process is completed quickly. However, fraudsters are abusing it in an effort to defraud innocent people. You must therefore be careful the next time you scan a QR code. 

The number of QR code scams are rising

The 30-year-old Dilip Bhandari decided to sell his mattress, he put up an ad on a platform used to sell second-hand products. A few hours later, he was contacted by Lakshman Singh, a man who claimed to be from the army, and said he was willing to buy the mattress for Rs 23,500. Bhandari was sent a link that contained a QR code, which he had to scan in order for the funds to be transferred into his account.

Despite his confusion, Bhandari saw no harm in this mode of transaction since he was not divulging his bank details. Immediately after scanning the QR code, he was notified that his account had been debited of Rs 10,000. He immediately contacted Singh, who apologized and said the error was his. Then he promised to wire the Rs 10,000 and Rs 23,500 to his account if he scanned the code once more.

After scanning the code a second time, Bhandari saw another *40,000 disappear from his account. When Bhandari attempted to reach Singh, his mobile phone was unreachable. After that Bhandari lodged a police complaint

This is not an isolated incident. In recent years, the police have received numerous complaints from citizens who were duped into scanning QR codes.

Also check out: Fraud Story #150- Searching on Google can cause you to lose money

How to avoid a QR code scam -

1. Despite the value of QR codes, it's wise not to scan any unidentified QR codes, but to treat them as shady links you'd rather not click to prevent being scammed.

2. Never reveal personal information to unknown callers. Know who you are dealing with before giving out your personal information.

3. You may be asked to scan a QR code in order to receive money. Please keep in mind that a QR code can only be scanned when you are sending money.

4. Your One Time Password (OTP), UPI pin, and other secret information should not be shared with anyone. Never provide banking information to anyone, and always contact your bank. There is a possibility of fraud here.

5. 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 #154. 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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