Online payment fraud is on the rise as the use of digital payment methods grows. Fraudsters have become increasingly sophisticated and continuously develop new tricks.  If you are careless when you transact online, you run the risk of having your bank account drained.

Many banks and other financial service providers have posted warnings about online fraud and cautioned individuals about revealing their OTPs. Sadly, some unaware people fall victim to fraudsters' tricks.

Online Fraud: Maharashtra Nursery Owner Cheated Of Rs 1.5 Lakh By "Customer"

One prime example of how online scammers have exploited individuals' unfamiliarity with the process of online transactions is the theft of 1.5 lakh rupees from the bank account of the owner of a plants' nursery in Maharashtra Palghar district.

Apparently, a businessman lodged a complaint against an unknown man who introduced himself as an army man and posed as a potential customer.

The police claim that the nursery owner was scammed when accepting payment for a mango sapling order.

An anonymous suspect allegedly sent a QR code to the victim's account on an online payment portal and asked him to scan it in order to receive the money, according to Palghar police spokesperson, Sachin Navadkar. However, money was deducted from the victim's bank account.

However, the problem did not end there.

In exchange for returning the money, the fraudster asked the victim to provide his bank account details and OTP, and then he siphoned more money.

It is alleged that the businessman lost close to Rs 1.5 lakh in the two transactions, as per the case filed at the Dahanu police station.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, more businesses and activities are moving online, making cyber security an increasingly important issue. However, this is not being paid enough attention to.

Also Check: Fraud Story #204- Clicking an advertisement on Facebook cost a woman 7.7 lakh

Here's what you can do to avoid this fraud:

1. Giving out personal information to unknown callers is never a good idea. Before you give out your personal information, make sure you know whom you are dealing with.

2. If you're asked to scan a QR code to receive money. Remember, a QR code can only be scanned when you're sending money.

3. Your One Time Password (OTP), UPI pin, and other secret information should not be shared with anyone. Never provide banking information to anyone, and always contact your bank. There is a possibility of fraud here. 

4. You shouldn't let a stranger guide you through the mobile app installation process. If he requests to modify your mobile settings, it might be a scam.

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 #212. 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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