The pandemic has created a shift towards a digital world and triggered extreme changes in online shopping trends that are likely to have lasting effects. Since the lockdown, Indian consumers have been entirely dependent on online platforms to purchase home decor, clothes, news, healthcare facilities, and even booking the vaccine. The most common platforms widely used for communication are namely Whatsapp, Facebook, and Instagram. As soon as consumers shifted to online shopping, companies eventually started offering additional discounts and more lucrative offers to increase sales. Due to the lockdown opportunity, several small businesses started selling through social media as well. As usual, fraudsters took advantage of people looking for goods with lesser prices, and due to the lack of a secure payment system, they could easily scam without being reported.

Paid in advance only to receive an empty package 

This is the story of Riddhi Agarwal, who ordered a product from a Whatsapp business account named "Craftastic". After she was made to pay the full amount in advance, the seller didn't respond to the delivery queries asked by Riddhi. As Riddhi was a re-seller of home decor items, she ordered them for another client. After repeated texts, the seller only shared the delivery company receipt. Riddhi was keen to track the order, so she asked for the tracking ID instead of the receipt. The seller disagreed to share it. After almost one month, the order was delivered and Riddhi's clients claimed that they have received an empty parcel. There was supposed to be a set of glass bowls, but there was none. Riddhi tried to contact the seller but she was blocked immediately after the parcel was delivered. Being embarrassed as a reseller, she had no other option, other than to share her ordeal on social media.


How to stay safe from fake sellers on social media? 

1. Check and verify all licenses and documents of the seller before buying anything. 

2. Pay with Vouch, it releases your payment after the delivery of the products, better than UPI apps.

3. Make sure to record a video while unboxing your received products, so that any dispute can be resolved easily.

4. Try to find sellers through recommendations from your contact or check for positive reviews on their social media pages.

What is a digital escrow? 

Digital Escrow is the use of a third party account, during a transaction, which holds the money deposited by the person who is purchasing any product/service until the seller fulfills the terms of the agreement. The transacting parties are supervised by the escrow company. 

How does Digital Escrow support small businesses in India?

Vouch’s Digital Escrow service is a transparent way for online sellers and buyers to build a long-lasting relationship by securing a clean transfer of product and payment. Buyers can feel assured that they will be fairly compensated in a timely manner, and buyers will feel confident that their orders will be delivered as expected and on schedule.

Vouch Digital Escrow uses a non-interest-bearing escrow account for all transactions in India 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 #49. 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 delivered the product or service you contracted to!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 letstalk@iamvouched.com