Every second person who tries to sell something through OLX and Facebook has got a call from a person who claims to be an Army officer living in the same city as the seller. 

It's easy for people to get a thousand different pictures of army officials on the internet - use them as profile pictures and scam the innocent sellers.

Engineer lost 72,000

An engineer aged 25 was duped for Rs 72,000 by an army man in an OLX fraud when he tried to buy a used scooter from him. The youngster had expressed interest in buying a two-wheeler for Rs 25,000 but was duped out nearly three times that a case has been filed against an unidentified person under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act, and police are exploring the case.

OLX, an online platform for people to buy and sell used items, was being used by Rajkamal, 25, a technical engineer employed by a four-star hotel. The classified ad for the scooter was published on July 15, and Saroj came across it. In his introduction, Rajkumar Sheth, the seller, said he was an Armyman who was now transferring and wanted to sell his vehicle.

In order to initiate a money transfer, Saroj sought details about the vehicle and Sheth's bank account, since Saroj was interested. During a conversation with Rajkamal, Sheth explained that the scooter would require home delivery and documentation, so an additional charge of Rs 3,150 would apply. Saroj obliged and transferred these funds to Sheth's account, but Sheth then asked for two separate transactions to be made -- of Rs 3,000 and Rs 150. The amount would be incorporated into the overall payment, Sheth promised.

Rajkamal was instructed by Sheth to pay Rs 65,607 in a series of separate transactions under the pretenses of Army cargo fees, late payment fees, and home delivery of the scooter. Saroj became suspicious of Sheth when he demanded an extra amount and contacted the police.

Fraudsters operate this scam by presenting themselves as military personnel, but they are actually fraudsters, operating their scam over the internet. “Keep a vigilant eye on your surroundings," said Sawant the inspector in charge of the case.

Infinite ways to scam

These fake army scammers ask people for their UPI (often posing as buyers) and if the seller disagrees to have one, the next thing they ask for is the credit card credentials. Poor people do not know what they are calling for themselves once they share the details with them. They even share QR codes with the victims to scam them

These scammers not only ask you for money but often pose as buyers over the internet. They ask sellers to send the goods to them over a promise to pay it on delivery. Some sellers who haven't have ad a call of that sort end up sending the products because of the buyer's connection with the army and they never get their promised payment.

Cyberfraud victims should follow these steps:

  1. For assistance with Cyber Crime prevention and detection, please call the 24-hour helpline.
  2. If you are the victim of bank fraud, notify the bank, block the card, and fill out a dispute form. Whenever fraud is reported within 24 hours of the crime, the stakeholder is responsible for regaining the lost funds.
  3. You should never divulge any account details or One Time Password (OTP).

You may need the following documents when notifying the bank:

  1. Statements from the bank for the past six months
  2. An alleged transaction's SMSs must be provided
  3. Bank records showing proof of identification and address

Frauds over OLX

More than 4000 cases of fraud were reported over the last year amongst which in maximum cases the conmen posed as army officials. In a lot of cases, the victims were unable to get the lost money back. 

How do they win trust? - AADHAR and ID CARDS

Maximum of scammers over the internet who pose as army officials have fake identity proofs such as Aadhar cards. They often send pictures of their fake Aadhar to the victims to win their trust and in maximum cases, they succeed.

What to do if you get a call from such a scammer?

  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.
  4. Avoid accepting or making advance payment unless you use an escrow service. Accept only if the payment is made through a digital escrow payment service like Vouch. In case you are the one who's supposed to pay - Do it through Vouch.
  5. Fraudsters use fake identification of the army to gain trust. Keep a check on such attempts.

This is Fraud Story #41. Check back here for more fraud chronicles and scams that you can protect yourself from.

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