Digital Payment - Faster yet unsafe!

After the widespread adoption of digital payments in recent years, countries like India have become increasingly adept at digital payments. There has been a substantial increase in citizens using cashless transactions in India's suburbs and hinterlands, including through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Internet Banking, and other means. India is poised to experience a 78 percent increase in digital payments in the coming months, according to reports

Sofa sold for 1,68,000

In the course of a cyber-fraud, a scammer posing as a potential purchaser allegedly tricked a 19-year-old into transferring Rs 1.68 lakh. The victim was trying to sell his old sofa set online for Rs 45,000.

An FIR was subsequently filed with the local police station by the boy.

In his FIR, he stated that he posted an advertisement on OLX on July 9 and, the following morning, he received a call from the scammer, detailing the fact that he was calling from Andheri, hoping to purchase the sofa for Rs 35,000. Both parties agreed on Rs 42,000 for the sofa following a lot of bargaining.

 In response to the boy's request for an advance of Rs 12,000, the scammer said his relative would be in touch to make the payment, as he does not use any online payment services. Another scammer impersonating the relative called up the same night, the boy added.

 The scammer told the boy that he would need to send Rs 12,000 within a short time after which he would receive twice as much money. After suspecting him of lying, the boy sent him Rs 1 and received Rs 2 shortly thereafter. Having been convinced, he sent him Rs 12,000, which was followed by three messages from his bank informing him that Rs 84,000 had been deducted from his account

 In response, the scammer told the boy that his e-wallet was malfunctioning, and asked if he used net banking. A further Rs 84,000 was debited from the boy's account when he connected the scammer's bank details.

 A police investigation is underway to find the accused. Clearly, digital payments are requiring increased cybersecurity as technology advances. Creating a highly efficient and secure digital payment ecosystem in the country has become more important as the benefits of digital payments outweigh the risks. 

What could have been done?

Escrow payment systems like Vouch should be used for payments over the internet to ensure safe and fraud-free transactions.

Unauthorized payment links can be sent to your mobile phone via SMS by fraudsters. In almost every regard, these fake bank URLs look identical to the real thing. The UPI payment app installed on your phone will direct you to that link if you click on it in a hurry and will ask you to choose which apps to debit automatically. You will immediately see the amount get deducted from your UPI app once your permission is granted.

The following tips will help you protect your money against fraud.

  1. In no case do government agencies, banks, or other financial institutions request financial information via SMS. In the case of UPI fraud, you should contact your bank or eWallet company and request the wallet be blocked in order to prevent further losses. 
  2. Police or the cybercrime cell can even be contacted about the incident.
  3. When using the digital payments app, you will probably receive a spam warning. Do not ignore it. The warning would appear if you transact with someone who had been reported earlier.
  4. Using digital escrow platforms as a payment method is preferred. When you pay through an Escrow payment system over the internet, you are not sharing your information with strangers. One such platform for escrow is Vouch
Escrow payment

This is Fraud Story #34. Check back here for more fraud chronicles and scams that you can protect yourself from.

Escrow payment

Safety is not just about protecting your credit or debit card number. 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 how to avoid frauds like these. Do you have a fraud that you would like to report? Please write to us at