Beware of Low Bargains  

Humans are an interesting lot. Ever since money was invented as a means of value exchange, we use it for a variety of things. We use it as a means of paying for our necessities, paying for our desires, as an indicator of a person's social standing in society, and so on. We, therefore, want to keep more of it. This makes us go after anything that increases the return on our money and anything that reduces our expenses. The net result is that we get to keep more of our money.

In order to keep more of our money, we look for higher return investments, discount coupons, deals, sales, and so on. We are willing to drive twice the distance to get fuel or groceries for a few rupees or $s cheaper. Never mind that the cost of fuel may actually be more than the savings. The goal is simple - the bargain has to be had. This makes it the perfect recipe for fraudsters to take advantage of.

Sign depicting sale at a retail store to indicate human need for bargain

Falling for the wrong bargain can prove to be costly

Bargains are great. The trouble is to know which ones are really worth our time, money, and effort. All the more, greater trouble is if the bargain is just a trap to lure us into losing our money.

This is what happened to a lot of buyers online who have dealt with a lady called Safina Khatun. Safina's modus operandi is based on cashing on this human need to get a bargain price. Unscrupulous Indian traders have long taken advantage of the gullible Indian buyer by selling poor-grade products and almost non-functional products at a bargain price. Safina's scam is a cut above.

Modus Operandi of SKhan's Online Scam

Safiya Khatun's Online Fraud - Modus Operandi

Safina gets to work as soon as a potential buyer is looking for a particular product on an online shopping forum. Safina offers a much lower price than what the customer is looking for. In one case, a customer was enquiring availability of a dress priced at Rs.1350. Safiya stepped up and offered the same dress for Rs.899. The customer, although suspicious, could not resist the offer. 

The customer took the bait and made a payment. She received shipping details and an airway bill number after several follow-ups. When she checked the airway bill online, she could not see any tracking information. It was returned as an invalid airway bill number. When asked why she could not track the shipment, she was informed that it would take 24-48 hours for tracking information to be available. She never received the shipment. After repeated follow-ups, her number was blocked and she never heard back from Safiya. 

Safiya keeps using aliases to dupe and carry out online frauds on newer customers. She goes by S Khan, Lisi Khatun, and many other names. What seems to be common is the modus operandi and the process she follows. This online forum returns several such stories. Beware and stay protected

How to avoid online frauds like these

1. Find out ways in which the seller can be verified - is contact information listed, have other people had a good experience?

2. Why is the seller asking for Advance Payment? Especially without payment methods that don't offer protection

3. Ask the seller how you can trust them and ask for proof

4. Always make payments thru platforms such as Vouch where you are in complete control of your money till you receive the product or service you were promised

When in doubt, use Vouch


This is Fraud Story # 15. Check back here for more fraud chronicles and frauds that you can protect yourself from.

Safety is not just about protecting your credit or debit card number. It's about getting paid for your hard work!


Note: This is a good-faith initiative to educate the world about how to avoid frauds like these. Do you have a fraud that you would like to report? Please write to us at