From buying things to paying bills, we do almost everything online these days. Online transactions have a lot of advantages, but they have some drawbacks as well. In recent years, fraudsters have become increasingly sophisticated and are learning new tricks all the time. When you transact online, even a single mistake can be costly. A 74-year-old Mumbai actor lost Rs 3 lakh while buying whisky online in a recent incident.

A 74-year-old actor was duped out of Rs 3 lakh while ordering liquor online

In a recent incident, a 74-year-old actor, who had appeared in popular Hindi TV shows, was allegedly duped out of Rs 3 lakh by a cyber criminal posing as a wine shop employee.

A complaint filed by the actress with the Shivaji Park police station indicates that she was planning to throw a party for her nephew who was getting married in Pune. As a gift, she wanted to give him a bottle of Amrut whiskey. Her search on Google led her to two mobile phone numbers for wine shops in her area.

When she called the number, she paid Rs 4,800 for the whiskey but was never delivered. So, she called again to request a refund. In response, she was instructed by the fraudster that for any refund, one must register online with the wine shop in accordance with government regulations.

Using her debit card details, he generated a one-time password (OTP), which the actor received. Following her sharing of the OTP, believing it was part of the refund process, multiple transactions occurred and money was transferred from her account.

He then told her there was an issue with her debit card and asked her for her credit card information. As a result of the actor sharing the information and OTP, more transactions took place. In total, she lost Rs 3.05 lakh. According to the woman, she repeatedly called the accused but he did not answer and later turned off his phone.

Also Check: Fraud Story #173 - A person lost Rs.1,00,000 while transacting on Google Pay

How to avoid this kind of fraud?

1. You should never rely on the customer service number that appears on Google. You should instead go to the original company website and obtain the number there.

2. You should never give out personal information, such as credit card numbers, CVVs, OTPs, and unified payments interface IDs, to anyone over the phone.

3. Shops often display their phone numbers in front of their stores. In order to prevent being duped, you are advised to call the number provided by the shop.

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 #196. 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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