The vishing scam has become quite common in recent years, with many people losing lakhs of rupees to this kind of scam. In spite of bank and RBI warnings, many people are still getting scammed. People in India often fall prey to this kind of scam due to a lack of awareness. There are many people who do not know not to share card details and OTP with anyone.

What is vishing?

Fraudsters pose as employees of legitimate companies to induce people to disclose personal information, such as bank details, credit card numbers, and OTP, through telephone calls called 'Vishing'.

Real-life Incident

Over 1 Lakh people were cheated by a man living in a small village in Jharkhand.

Fraudsters recruited over 200 individuals near the Jharkhand-West Bengal border and trained them as bank executives. Their fake bank executives would call victims and obtain their personal banking information such as card numbers, bank account numbers, CVV, expiration dates, passwords, ATM pins, internet banking details and passwords, and one-time passwords (OTP).

Customers were contacted by fake executives who claimed to be able to reactivate accounts, redeem reward points, and even link bank accounts to Aadhaar. Once they get all this information, they began transacting online.

This scam was uncovered by police investigating a case of a Delhi woman who lost Rs 1.9 lakhs from her bank account. According to her complaint, someone called her claiming to be an RBI official and offering to assist her in linking her Aadhaar with her bank account. Trusting him, she gave him the OTP. Her attention was caught after a while when she realized a transfer of Rs 1.9 lakh had been made from her bank account. 

The scammers called people all over the country, including metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai, and played tricks on people to steal their money.

How to avoid vishing scams?

1. Neither banks nor any other institution will ask for any personal information over the phone, including bank details, card numbers, CVVs, or OTPs. Whenever you receive a call claiming to be from the bank and asking for personal information, ignore it or report it to the local police station. It is highly recommended not to share your OTP or card details with anyone.

2. Whenever you receive a call from someone claiming to be a representative of a reputable firm, do not simply believe them. Make sure you verify the caller's identity by asking a few simple questions. This may sound rude, but it can prevent you from being scammed.

3. Today almost all smartphones have a blocking feature, so you can block incoming calls from certain numbers. If you continue to receive calls that ask you to share personal information, block those numbers.

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 #185. 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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