Who wouldn't want to win a lottery? It's something we all wish for. Fraudsters are using this technique to steal money from innocent people. Fraudsters send out emails, letters, and SMS's in the name of a lottery, and pretend to be from different companies, to scam people out of their hard-earned money.

Victims are also sometimes contacted over the phone under the guise of employees from reputable companies. Lottery scams increase every day, and they are among the top three online frauds. Therefore, you should be very cautious when someone approaches you claiming to have won a lottery.

The lottery fraud that cost a woman Rs 3.55 lakh?

One of the nurses from Manipal received a scratch card from Naaptol a few months back. The woman believed the scratch card was sent from Naaptol, so she scratched it and found she'd won a lottery worth Rs 12 lakhs. The scratch card stated that she had to contact the number on the card to claim the lottery.

A man named Ashwin Kumar answered the phone when she called the number on the scratch card and introduced himself as a representative of Naaptol. She was instructed to send Rs 3,55,800 to a number of bank accounts to receive the lottery money. Upon asking the reason for sending this amount, fraudsters convinced her that it included service fees, GST, and other taxes.

When the victim transferred Rs 3,55,800 to several bank accounts, a person named Ajay Kumar contacted her. She was asked again to transfer money to multiple bank accounts in order to receive the lottery prize. It was then that she realized she had been duped by fraudsters in the name of the lottery.

Where did the fraudsters get her address to send her scratch card?

In the past, the victim purchased various products from Naaptol. Her transaction details were captured whilst she was purchasing and her residential address was used to send the scratch card.

Upon realizing she had been the victim of online fraud, she filed a police complaint under sections of the IT Act and IPC. Police say the fraudster is currently situated in Bihar while the bank account where she deposited money was located in West Bengal.

Also Check: The fake UPSESSB website scam in UP

How to avoid lottery scams?

1. The best way to avoid online fraud is to ignore calls, emails, SMS, and letters pretending to be lottery announcements.

2. Do not pay anyone in advance for lottery winnings. Nobody will ask you for money in advance to receive your lottery winnings.

3. Never provide your personal information to anyone over the phone or via email.

4. The use of digital escrow platforms for payments is recommended. When you make an online payment with Escrow, no financial information is shared. 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 #176. 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