Fraud in the pharmaceutical industry remains a major challenge - and it may have become worse during COVID-19. Observers have predicted that health care fraud recoveries this year will be higher than average due to misconduct during the pandemic.

On Tuesday, police said a 32-year-old man in Nagpur, Maharashtra, lost Rs 1.81 lakh after sharing his OTP for ordering medicines online over the phone.

During the evening of Sunday, the victim had gone to a medical shop to get some medicines, but could not find them.

Upon returning home, he began searching for medicines online when he received a call from an unknown individual who offered to deliver the medicine to his home. With the assumption that he was a genuine medicine supplier, the victim gave the caller his credit card number and the OTP he received on his mobile phone. An official said that the fraudster was able to withdraw Rs 1,81,470 within half an hour from the victim's account.

He added that a case was registered under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act on Tuesday. He still has not recovered the money he lost.

How to avoid such scams?

  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. 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. 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.
  4. Always do a thorough search about a company before buying. Read reviews about the company. Avoid buying from a company with poor ratings or no ratings at all.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

Risk might continue

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are on track for recovery in 2021 despite having experienced one of the most chaotic years in history. Even though consumer confidence has recovered and the end of the pandemic is in sight, the pharmaceutical industry still faces significant risks.

Consumer confidence is on the rise, but it is still nowhere near normal levels as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The end of the year will bring a number of major risks for companies in this sector

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 #166. 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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