New ways to make money quickly and scam people are invented every day by fraudsters. Numerous incidents of people losing money to fraudsters have been reported.  By selecting random numbers, fraudsters threaten their victims with being disconnected from the network if they do not update their Know Your Customer (KYC) information.

While most people are aware of these scams and ignore them, some do fall for them and lose their money.

The police recovered Rs 4.92 lakh in online fraud

Cybercrime sleuths in Bhubaneswar's urban police district were able to trace and recover the Rs 4.92 lakh that a 76-year-old man had lost to a fraudster during the lockdown. On May 16, Rabinarayan Mishra lost the money when a fraudster pretended to represent BSNL contacted him.

In order to avoid SIM card deactivation, the fraudster told the victim that he needed to update his KYC information. The Scammer managed to trick the elderly man into sending him 5 lakhs through SBI's instant payment service (IMPS).

Mr. Mishra was instructed to fill in the details of a remote control application downloaded from the Google Play Store by the fraudster. It is possible to view device information via the app. After that, he instructed Mr. Mishra to pay Rs 11 online towards the fee of updating his information, according to the cybercrime help desk.

Mr. Mishra, who is retired from government service, used his debit card to make the payment, and the cybercriminal instructed him to check the OTP sent to his mobile phone in order to complete the transaction. 

By mirroring the victim's device, it may have enabled the miscreant to access the OTP and steal the money from his account.

It was discovered that the money had been illegally transferred through the Razorpay payment gateway during the investigation. Still, the help desk officers managed to recover Rs 4.92 lakh.  "We contacted the cybercrime helpdesk within 15 minutes of discovering the issue. It is a blessing that our money was recovered," said Mishra's son Rajat.

Also Check: Vishing scam: Beware of phony phone calls

How to avoid this fraud -

1. Don't give out any personal information over the phone. You will never be asked to provide personal information such as your card number, CVV, or OTP over the phone by a bank or reputed company.

2. Don't let a stranger walk you through the process of installing a mobile app. It might be a scam if he requests that you change your mobile settings.

3. 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.

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 #192. 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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