OLX allows you to buy and sell goods and services online, including furniture, electronics, cars, and bikes. An ad must be posted on the website before the sale can take place. This platform has been beneficial to many sellers and buyers, but fraudsters have been abusing it to steal money from people.

Marketplaces such as Olx and Quikr dominate India's online classifieds market. The number of buying and selling transactions handled by these platforms is increasing daily. Recently, Olx has been under public scrutiny for advance fee frauds, as well as other online procurement scams.

You need to be aware of all aspects of the deal you are engaging in as a buyer/seller. Here are some tips for buying safely on Olx and all the information you need about online purchase scams.

A doctor lost 7.5 lakh in Olx scam

A doctor in Panchkula fell prey to fraud while trying to buy a used car on an internet marketplace, losing Rs 7.50 lakh in the process. Dr. Rashmi, who works at the Civil Hospital in Sector 6, said the accused is now threatening her life and threatening to expose her family in a false case.

Dr. Rashmi, a Sector 12 resident, said her family had been hunting for a used automobile on OLX. The family stumbled across an advertisement for a Maruti S-Cross car in June of last year, which was advertised for Rs 7.50 lakh. The complainant was advised by the seller, Ketan Sharma, that the car was registered in the name of his relative Megha Mittal who lives in Shastri Nagar.

He further informed the doctor that the car had an outstanding loan of Rs 5.58 lakh from Mahindra Finance, which the buyer had financed. Dr. Rashmi was convinced by the accused to hand over Rs 7.50 lakh to him in order to repay the loan. He promised to deliver the vehicle to her after obtaining the vehicle's no-objection certificate (NOC) within 10 days after payment. On July 2, as agreed, the complainant presented the accused with a cheque of Rs 7.50 lakh. When the complainant persisted, the accused allegedly threatened to harm her and implicate her family in a false case. Ketan Sharma, Megha Mittal, and her father, Mohit Mittal, have all been charged.

Also Check: Fraud Story #232- Retired official sell furniture on Olx, scammed for ₹72,000

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 #235. 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 letstalk@iamvouched.com