Cybercriminals posing as project managers of multinational companies allegedly took more than Rs 7.76 lakh from a 40-year-old woman investing in a scheme to promote their organization, while promising hefty returns.

An FIR was filed on December 5 at Mira-Bhayandar police station in Vasai-Virar. It was reported to police that the complainant works for an entertainment company and her husband for a hotel.

Fraudsters impersonating a multinational company's project manager defrauded a woman of nearly Rs 8 lakh

On November 28, the woman saw an ad for earning money online called "Yang-101304" on Facebook. Clicking on the link, she received a Facebook Messenger chat message from Yang 101304. The fraudster impersonated as Wipro project manager, claiming the company had started a project to promote itself.

She was told she would receive a 20%-40% profit on her investments and was asked to click a link sent to her on WhatsApp. The fraudster used the name Wipro to gain the trust of the woman. In order to complete the project, she had to provide personal information to the fraudster and then visit the company's online shop.

It was alleged that the woman was directed to a fraudulent website, where her personal details were registered, and an account was opened. Then she was required to invest Rs 300 in an online shop and received Rs 30 as a bonus into an e-wallet. In order to perform further tasks, she was instructed to download Telegram, a messaging app.

Through Telegram, the fraudster convinced her to invest several hundred rupees and then several thousand rupees. Every time she made an investment, she was rewarded with a few hundred rupees in bonus money. This built her trust in the company.

Her fraudster then told her that she needed to accomplish five levels of tasks, and for each level, she needed to make an investment. At the end of all, she would receive the entire amount plus interest. She paid a total of Rs 2.29 lakh for this task.

However, the fraudster said the task was incomplete, so she had to pay another Rs 1.55 lakh. As soon as she started asking for her money back, the fraudster told her she would have to pay GST to get the money back. After she paid the GST amount, the fraudster told her the task was delayed and demanded more money.

The woman paid a total of Rs 7.76 lakh believing she would get high interest. As soon as the fraudster demanded another Rs 2 lakh, she realized she was being cheated.

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Warning signs of job scams

1. It is a big warning sign of a job scam when a job offer seems too good to be true. A great job is hard to come by. Usually, fraudulent job offers to contact you claiming that they found your resume online. 

2. The job offer emails sent by fraudsters are poorly written. They lack professionalism when compared to emails sent by legitimate businesses. They will have a lot of spelling errors in them. As reputable companies have professionals who can write well, they do not make silly mistakes.

3. The job offer is fake if you are asked for confidential information such as bank details. It is common for fraudsters to request your bank account information, claiming to be able to set up a direct deposit or transfer funds to your account. By giving out such information, fraudsters can make fraudulent transactions.

4. A fake job usually requires payment for the offer letter. Many of them claim the amount is refundable. However, if you make the payment, you will not receive a refund. You should keep in mind that reputed companies never ask for payments when offering jobs.

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 #204. 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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