The convenience of digital wallets and online payment systems such as Google Pay has made life a lot easier. Using Google Pay makes making payments an easy process. There are many things that you can do with Google Pay, such as transferring money from one bank account to another, paying utility bills, paying phone bills, booking tickets, sending money to merchants, and shopping online.  The use of digital payments is extremely useful, but it also comes with risks and vulnerabilities. This is why it is important to be careful when making online transactions.

A Real Life Experience - 

During online transactions, a small mistake can have a big impact on your expenses. A user of Google Pay recently lost Rs 1,00,000 in a transaction. It all began after he advertised his furniture on Facebook. Several days after his ad was posted, he received a call from a person who was interested in buying the furniture. The fraudster negotiated the price first in order to make himself look like a genuine buyer. After fixing a price the fraudster wanted to pay in advance through Google Pay and Paytm. The fraudster sent a collect request for money instead of sending money to the victim. Because the victim did not want to miss out on the advance payment, he accepted the request without verifying the amount first. The victim believed he would receive money, but he was duped by fraudsters.

If an unknown user makes a payment request, Google Pay allows you to block them. The Google Play app will allow you to block contacts you do not want to contact.

You may also be interested in: Fraud Story #165 - Woman lost 41,000 while selling furniture online.

Keep these guidelines in mind when using Google Pay.

1. Your UPI PIN is required only to send money and check your balance. Receiving payments does not require a PIN. You are likely to have to input your PIN if someone asks you to make an outgoing payment, i.e. a payment from your bank account.

2. Avoid sharing the OTP generated when you log in to your Google Pay account. 

3. Do not make a financial transaction while distracted, whether it's a recharge, a bill payment, or anything else. Under no circumstances make a financial transaction while under pressure or talking to someone.

4. Do not share sensitive information about yourself on social networking sites. Always confirm the identity of individuals with whom you wish to transfer funds.

5. Never make a transaction while using a screen-sharing app.

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.

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 #173. 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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