The dream home or car you've always wanted can't be purchased without obtaining a loan, such as a car loan or a home loan. Fraudsters know this and are always on the lookout for innocent people who apply for loans from banks.

The best way to avoid being a victim of fraudsters is to keep a sharp eye on the news and read newspapers regularly to learn how they cheat them out of their hard-earned money.

A woman lost over 14 lakh in online fraud.

The police said a 22-year-old woman who wanted a loan of Rs 1 lakh lost over Rs 14 lakh after two men posed as executives of a finance company and conned her.

Following his retirement, the victim's father, who was a business manager with a company in Thane, near Mumbai, deposited Rs 18 lakh to her bank account. The woman spent the money for personal reasons and wanted to replenish, according to the police officer. Thus, she decided to take out a loan.

She was contacted by a man who claimed to be a representative of a private financing company and offered her the loan amount. She agreed to pay a processing fee of Rs 2,600, which she did, according to the police.

Later, despite providing all the required details, the woman's loan was not processed. After she contacted the finance company, another man told her the agent she was dealing with had contracted Coronavirus and that he would take over her case.

Moreover, the man told her that the loan needed to be reprocessed and asked her to send money from time to time, he said, adding that the man told her that her payment would be refunded later.

As she made these payments from July to September, she lost Rs 14.47 lakh in total. Once she realized that she had been cheated, she contacted the police.

A cheating case has been filed under the Indian Penal Code against the accused, who are named Raj Kunde and Anjuman Shau.

How to avoid loan fraud?

1. Research lenders carefully before getting a loan as there are many frauds in the market that trick people into paying for loans they can't afford. Make sure that the lender has a physical address, if they refuse to give it, do not trust them. 

2. Don't provide personal information over the phone. You should never give personal information to a lender over the phone. A legitimate lender will never ask you for personal information over the phone.

3. It is recommended that you stay away from offers that seem too good to be true. Be very careful before signing a contract with a lender who is offering very good terms. Fraudsters usually cheat innocent people by offering attractive offers. 

4. It is also possible to read online reviews for the lender.  If there are a lot of negative reviews, it would be advisable to stay away from the lender. 

5. 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 #182. 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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