Offers, too good to be true

Getting a discount like never before with an online deal? There is a possibility that it is a trap. As we all get accustomed to the digital lifestyle in the wake of the pandemic, we are finding more and more Malayalis falling victim to online frauds.

Be careful about taking an online offer on a low-priced used car on OLX that is expensive!  Kerala has been the scene of repeated incidents involving gangs from North India that post fake ads on online marketplaces. Listings claim the cars belonged to defense personnel and offer them at an affordable price. Apparently, Kerala Police has issued a warning against these fraudsters.

Assam, Hyderabad, and Delhi have been operating rackets since the beginning of the year. A few people have complained about losing money because of these rackets. Fraudsters use a number of IP addresses and documents from other individuals, so it's not easy to track them.

Cyber wing police officers have warned the public that people should beware of those who offer expensive cars at low rates.

 The Victim's story

According to PJ Joseph, a gang duped him into buying an SUV for Rs 2.5 lakh by promising to sell it. On July 20, 2020, this advertisement appeared on OLX. Despite approaching police officers for assistance, he claims they could not locate the suspects despite his request for assistance. Upon receiving the copies of the vehicle's original registration and insurance details, the fraudsters convinced him of their authenticity.

Joseph said the defense personnel sent him an ID proof after he requested money from the seller. He then transferred Rs 12,300 in cash through Google Pay after the seller requested money. Joseph would receive the vehicle over the Indian Army's parcel service, completing procedures and delivering it to his address. However, there was no response from the number when Joseph contacted it later. 

As soon as the fraud was discovered, Kesavadas M S, the real owner of the vehicle who hails from Muppathadam in Aluva, discovered that someone else was using it to post an ad on OLX. While the lockdown was in effect, he decided to post an ad regarding the sale of his own vehicle. Kesavadas said that another ad was posted with the same details. The police have no idea who the culprits are seven months after the incident. 

Here are a few tips for staying safe on online marketplaces

  1. Make sure you place your order over a secure connection
  2. Verify the merchant's presence and reputation
  3. Avoid offers that seem too good to be true
  4. Please do not deal with sellers who ask for personal information, money in advance, or bank details
  5. Avoid accepting or making advance payment. Accept only if the payment is made through digital escrow like Vouch.
  6. Fraudsters use fake identification to gain trust. Keep a check on such attempts.

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

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.

How does Digital Escrow save you from online frauds?

Vouch’s Digital Escrow service is a transparent way for clients and freelancers to build trust and secure a clean transfer of product and payment. Freelancers can feel assured that they will be fairly compensated in a timely manner, and clients will feel confident that their order will be delivered as expected and on schedule. 
Vouch Digital Escrow uses a non-interest-bearing escrow account for all transactions and 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.

This is Fraud Story #48. 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