Scams involving QR codes are on the rise in India with contactless payments that use quick response codes. 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. 

Dental student lost 1.67 lakhs 

Dental students from Panjab University (PU) are among the growing list of victims of QR code scams being perpetrated by online fraudsters.

Angad Sharma lost Rs 1.67 lakh as the result of a series of transactions that started on June 30. Sector 37 resident was called by a neighbor who requested that he transfer Rs 20,000 into his bank account so that his relative could receive treatment in a private hospital's ICU. The payment was made through UPI (Unified Payment Interface) between June 30 and July 4. Sharma contacted the bank after two days when he had not received his money back.

The accused took his friend on the line too. His friend sent Angad a QR code on WhatsApp to return Rs 5. He clicked and then he sent him the Rs 5 back. The accused then sent a QR code for Rs 20,000. Angad scanned it thrice and Rs 15,000 was deducted from his account. Later, the fraudster asked Sharma to use Google Pay to get the refund. The fraudster asked Angad to pay Rs 35,000 to another number and assured him that he would get the money back as he has a debit card machine. He did that but did not get back the money. He then asked for Angad’s debit card details. 

Sharma claims the accused deducted Rs 7,000. Angad lost Rs 69990 when the fraudster asked for an OTP he received from his bank.

Despite his repeated requests for a UPI transfer, Angad refused and filed a complaint with the SSP public window.

Cyber cell investigators verified the facts and filed a case. Cops are checking the accounts to which the money was transferred.

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 #159. 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. 

Do you have a fraud you would like to report? Please write to us at