In India, lottery fraud is becoming more widespread, and people have lost a great deal of money to it. Lottery fraud is one of the top three online frauds in the country. Fraudsters take advantage of people's greed to scam them out of their hard-earned money.

What is lottery fraud?

Lottery fraud is committed by using phone calls, emails, SMSs, and WhatsApp messages to inform recipients that they have won free gifts or lots of money. A transfer charge or processing fee is crucial for the recipient to receive the lottery payout. Once the money is sent, the fraudsters immediately take off with it.

A student was promised a refrigerator but duped of Rs 98,500 in a lucky draw

Three cyber-fraudsters tricked a 27-year-old student into transferring money after she believed that she had won a fridge in an Amazon "lucky draw", duping her of Rs 98,500. Police are searching for the criminals after a woman filed an FIR with the Mahim police on Saturday.

It is alleged that the complainant received a phone call from a woman claiming to be an executive from an online shopping portal operated by Amazon. She was told she was the winner of the lucky draw and could choose a gift from five options. Among the five items, the complainant picked a fridge and was asked to send Rs 4,999 via Gpay, as payment for a gift voucher in order to buy it.

The fraudster told the complainant that she would need to speak to her supervisor after she had made the payment. A fraudster impersonating a senior executive soon called her and said she had to pay Rs 11,999 to get the gift, but that this sum would be refunded to her within a short time.

She paid the amount, but the fraudster called back to indicate that the payment amount was incorrect, so she was asked to send another Rs 12,000. As soon as this payment was made, the fraudster claimed he couldn't get a transaction ID and requested another Rs 36,100 that would be refunded soon.

The fraudster passed on the phone to the chief executive, who stated that the company was "trying very hard" to create a transaction ID in the bank, and required another Rs 36,100. This time the complainant sent Rs 21,350. In total, she sent around Rs 98,500 to the fraudsters after which they cut all communication with her and she realized she had been conned.

Also Check: Swiggy Go: Woman loses 95K by calling fake helpline number

Tips to Avoid Lottery Scams -

1. It is best not to respond to unsolicited offers received via email, message, phone, or social media.

2. Don't talk to anyone about your personal or financial details over the telephone.

3. Transferring money as an advance fee to anyone who contacts you in the name of a lottery is a bad idea.

4.  Be careful when investing in schemes that sound too good to be true. Do not invest in unregulated companies or entities.

5. 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 #206. 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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