The main purpose of OLX is to allow you to buy and sell goods and services online such as furniture, electronics, bikes, and cars. The seller must post an ad on the website before the sale can occur. Despite the fact that this platform has benefited many sellers and buyers, fraudsters have been abusing it to steal money from people.

Mumbai man tries to sell sofa on Olx for Rs.7,000, loses Rs.63,500

One 24-year-old man tried to sell his old iron sofa on OLX when he was conned by a cyber-fraudster who pretended to be a potential customer over the phone and forced the victim to transfer Rs 63,500. At the Navghar police station in the Mira-Bhayandar Vasai-Virar commissionerate, an FIR was registered in the case, and the investigation is underway to find the accused.

According to the complaint, the complainant is a resident of Bhayandar (east) and works as a lab technician for the local municipality. He advertised on OLX, an online marketplace, on July 16, that he wanted to sell his old iron sofa online for Rs 7,000.

He was called up by a fraudster posing as an owner of a furniture store from Andheri that same night. A fraudster claimed he wanted to purchase the sofa, sending the complainant a QR code on his mobile phone to make the payment.

The fraudster told the complainant that by scanning the QR code and sending Rs 1 via e-wallet, he would receive Rs 2. After scanning the QR code, the complainant sent Rs 1 and shortly after received Rs 2 in his bank account.

After that, the fraudster instructed the complainant to send Rs 3,500 and he would receive Rs 7,000. Trusting him, the complainant sent the money, but the fraudster said that the money was not received because of a technical error and sent another QR code.

While the fraudster kept claiming he did not receive the money, he kept sending QR codes. His trust led him to scan the QR codes multiple times and he ended up transferring Rs 63,500. Later, he realized he had been duped and went to the police.

Also Check: Fraud Story #221- OLX: A woman selling books was contacted by a scammer

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. You should never scan a QR code, share an OTP, or visit a link given by anyone on the internet.

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

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 #226. 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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