Despite the economic slowdown that has been caused by the lockdown, online crime is not slowing down. There have been scams wherein fraudsters have been able to sneak money out of hundreds of bank accounts by impersonating as customer service executives of banks and reputable companies and deceiving those looking for services.

In response to fraud cases involving fake Google customer service numbers, the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell has issued a notice to Google, threatening legal action if they fail to send a representative for crimes committed using the Google search engine.

Mumbai woman loses Rs 11 lakh to cyberfraud while attempting to get a refund of Rs 11,000

On 15 January 2022, police reported that a senior citizen lost over Rs 11 lakh to cyber fraudsters when she tried to recover the money she lost ordering pizza and dry fruits online.

Fraud was discovered when the woman arrived at BKC Cyber police station with a complaint, an official said.

As a result of the complaint, an FIR was registered under section 420 (cheating) as well as other provisions of the IPC and the Information Technology Act, he said.

In July 2021, a woman who lives in suburban Andheri ordered pizza online, then paid for it with her phone, but she accidentally lost Rs 9,999.

In addition, the complainant lost another Rs 1,496 when ordering dry fruits online on 29 October 2021, the official said.

After losing money in both instances, the woman sought help by contacting customer service and called a phone number she came across on Google.

Upon receiving her call, the fraudster assured her that she would receive a refund and instructed her to download an application on her phone, which gave him access to her device, the official said.

The application enabled the accused to access the complainant's phone, bank account information, and passwords, he said.

During the fraud, the fraudster withdrew Rs 11.78 lakh from the bank account of the victim from 14th November to 1st December 2021, he said.

She soon realized she had lost all her savings, and approached the police, the official said, noting that an investigation is underway to catch those responsible for the fraud.

Also Check: On lookout for jobs, three men duped online

How to avoid this fraud -

1.  Do not call the number shown on a Google search. Check the official website of the company instead.

2. Do not divulge your personal information to anyone over the phone. In no case will a bank or a reputed company ask for your personal information like your card number, CVV, or OTP over the phone.

3. 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.

4. 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 #220. 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. 

Do you have a fraud you would like to report? Please write to us at