COVID-19 lockdowns impacted India's online food delivery industry greatly. We are living in a digital age that offers a staggering number of delivery options, such as apps that can deliver fine dining and fast food within minutes. With online food delivery services, consumers can order food online and have it delivered to their homes. The food delivery industry has become a convenient means for fraudsters to exploit people.

Pune woman defrauded of Rs 60,000 when ordering food online

After placing an online order for food, a Pune resident reportedly was cheated out of Rs 60,000 by fraudsters. While searching for a good restaurant online to order food for her parent's anniversary, the 46-year-old came across a number on a social media page that claimed to be the number for a famous restaurant. In her complaint to the local police station after the incident, the woman stated that she lost money in two transactions from her account, one on June 19 and the other on June 20.

In her statement, the woman reportedly said she was searching online for food delivery options when she encountered this number, which was listed for a famous restaurant at Tilak road in the city.

On June 19, she called the number and spoke with a person about the delivery, who asked for an advance of Rs 10,000 and under the pretext of asking for a credit card number, which she provided. Her account was debited the next day for Rs 49,600 and she didn't receive any food delivery.

The same type of fraud occurred last year in Bengaluru when a woman lost Rs 50,000 ordering a meal through an advertisement she saw on Facebook. In a Facebook advertisement, Savita Sharma (58), a resident of Yelachenahalli in South Bengaluru, was offered two thalis if she purchased one meal for Rs 250.

To reserve the meal, Savita called the number and was asked for a deposit of Rs 10. Later she received a link on her cell phone through which she had to enter some details about herself as well as her PIN number and bank details. Soon after, she received a text message saying that Rs 49,006 had been withdrawn from her account.

Also Check: Lost 4.83 lakh to fraudster posing as Airtel executive

Here are a few tips for staying safe online.

1. Using fake identification makes it easier for fraudsters to gain trust. Make sure you don’t fall for such attempts.

2. Check if the person is genuine before making a purchase from any website. It is due to a large number of fake sellers out there who fool people by putting up fake ads on social media. A fraudster simply disappears once they have collected the payment.

3. Deals that appear too good to be true should never be accepted. In other words, anything being sold for a very low price may not be legitimate.

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 #200. 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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