There is an online marketplace called OLX where products like electronics, bikes, cars, and more can be bought and sold. The first step to selling goods on OLX is creating an advertisement. In India, OLX is used by a lot of people since people prefer to do most of their shopping online. In addition to the fact that this marketplace is used by many people to buy and sell goods, fraudsters also abuse it to cheat and rob innocent people.
On OLX India, a 22-year-old named Gautam Sain noticed an advertisement for a Royal Enfield Bullet painted in army camouflage and listed for Rs 60,000. The seller who posted the advertisement described himself as a member of the Indian Army. Due to Gautam's aspirations to join the military, he contacted the seller.
According to the seller, he is selling the bike because he has been transferred from Jamnagar to Pune. During the course of a few days, the buyer and seller talked over the phone and the seller sent a picture of his ID card. In addition, he requested Rs 5,000 as a deposit for shipping the motorcycle to his house.
Sain trusted him and transferred Rs 5,000 to the seller. After some time, he requested that he deposit Rs 17,000 as a 'security deposit' and sent him a receipt via WhatsApp. As a result, he kept asking Sain for more money until Sain transferred him Rs 63,500. Afterward, the seller blocked him.
One case involved a 25-year-old man from Ahmedabad who was defrauded while trying to buy a refrigerator on OLX India. After seeing an advertisement listing a refrigerator at a reasonable price, the man decided to buy the refrigerator. After that, he contacted the seller and the seller again introduced himself as a member of the armed forces and said that he was looking to sell the refrigerator because he had been transferred.
The victim was subsequently asked to transfer Rs 7,000 in advance as transportation costs. The victim learned that the bank account was in another name as he was about to transfer the money using UPI ID on Paytm. Upon asking the seller, he was told that the account belonged to his commanding officer. He transferred the funds believing it was the truth. Once the funds had been transferred, the seller shut off his phone.
In addition to these two cases, there have been many other instances where people have lost money while purchasing stuff from OLX. Fraudsters gain victims' trust by showing them real identity cards. These identification cards are stolen via social media.
How to avoid these types of scams
1. Verify details of buyer/seller before proceeding to payment.
2. Any individual showing urgency or not waiting for a reasonable amount of time is likely to be a scammer.
3. Don't scan a QR Code or visit a link sent by anybody over the internet.
5. Fraudsters use fake identification of the army to gain trust. Keep a check on such attempts.
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 #224. 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 email@example.com