Our busy lifestyle and improved technology have made us completely dependent on the Internet. People today prefer to make purchases, book tickets, and pay utility bills online. Many people find online shopping convenient as it offers huge discounts. You can shop online from the comfort of your own home and purchase a wide variety of products.

Although online shopping is becoming increasingly popular, online shopping fraud is on the rise. There are reports of online shopping fraud every day.

A person lost 24,000 while ordering wine worth Rs 400 online

An Indian professor of biochemistry wanted to purchase a special wine. However, he was also busy with work as everyone is these days. Then he thought of ordering the wine online and he asked the office boy in his department to order it online. In order to find a nearby wine shop, the office boy Googled and found Baba Wine Shop's phone number. The office boy called Baba Wine Shop and ordered port wine for Rs 420.

On the call, the person on the other end of the line asked the office boy to make the payment online in order to send the wine bottle. As the shopkeeper was speaking on the phone, the boy took the professor's credit card and gave it to him along with the card number, CVV, and expiration date. Furthermore, he shared the One Time Password (OTP), which was sent to the professor's smartphone.

In just a few seconds after sharing all these details, the shopkeeper cut the call and said that the transaction had failed. It was then that the boy called the wine shop again. Again, he was requested to share the OTP sent to the professor's phone. This went on for an hour. When the professor checked his mobile, six transactions had been made using his card: Rs 420, Rs 4,420, Rs 4,420, Rs 4,420, Rs 5,000, and Rs 5,000.

The professor approached the police when he discovered that Rs 24,000 had been fraudulently debited from his account. The police are trying to track down the fraudsters.

Many wine shop owners have been complaining to the police that fraudsters have replaced the contact information of wine shops online. In this case, fraudsters misuse Google's editing feature to commit search fraud. The details for shops, banks, and other establishments can be edited on Google Maps and Google Search by anyone. It is an option that is available to enhance the service, but criminals are abusing this to make quick money. In this type of fraud, the fraudsters replace the original contact information with their phone number.

Also Check: Woman lost 50,000 to a QR code scam.

How to Avoid this Fraud?

1. Do not give out your card details or OTP to anyone over the phone. There are no establishments that will solicit your personal banking information.

2. You should not simply rely on the number that appears in the first search result on Google. Instead, you should visit the official website for contact information.

3. You should never pay someone in advance if you don't know them.

4. 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 #170. 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 letstalk@iamvouched.com