You may buy and sell items like furniture, gadgets, vehicles, and bikes online through OLX. Before the sale can happen, an advertisement needs to be published on the internet. Many merchants and buyers have benefited from this platform, but scammers have been misusing it to defraud individuals of their money.

The industry for online classifieds in India is dominated by marketplaces like Quikr, Facebook marketplace, and Olx. These platforms are handling more buying and selling transactions on a daily basis. Olx has recently come under fire from the public for advance fee frauds and other online procurement scams.

Panchkula woman scammed while selling her bicycle

A Panchkula resident paid a high price for falling victim to cyber fraud while trying to sell a bicycle on an internet marketplace; the accused fraudulently withdrew $24,800 from her bank account while posing as an interested customer.

A Panchkula homeowner paid a high price for her attempt to sell a bicycle on an internet marketplace when a fraudster, posing as an eager customer, fraudulently withdrew $24,800 from her bank account.

Divya Jaiswal, an Infosys employee who resides in the Mansa Devi Complex, claimed in her complaint that she had placed an ad on the OLX website to sell her daughter's old bicycle. In response to the advertisement, a man called her and indicated an interest in purchasing the bicycle for 3,000. He used WhatsApp to provide her a QR code so she could make the payment. Jaiswal claimed that after scanning the code, her bank account was debited by 24,800 but no money was made.

After that, the caller disappeared. Police have started an investigation to find and apprehend the suspects after filing an FIR at the Mansa Devi Complex station under Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code. Residents were warned by the police to exercise caution when requested to scan a QR code because it was not necessary for transactions involving the receipt of money.

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.

Also, check our Blog Fraud story #235 - Doctor lost 7.5 lakh in OLX car fraud.

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 #236. 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