Our lives have been made easier by online wallet platforms and online payment systems such as Google Pay and Paytm. Paying using these platforms is easy and convenient. These platforms let you do a wide range of things like transferring money from one bank account to another, paying utility bills, recharging your phone, booking tickets, paying merchants, and shopping online.  Despite their benefits, digital payments have their share of vulnerabilities and risks. Thus, caution must always be exercised while making online transactions.

Recent cases of digital payment fraud

Even one mistake while transacting online can lead to serious financial losses. There was recently a case of a person losing Rs 1,00,000 via Google Pay. All of this happened after he posted a Facebook advertisement to sell his furniture. After posting an advertisement, a person named Rajendra Sharma called to express interest in purchasing the furniture and requested to make the payment through popular platforms like Google Pay and Paytm. The Fraudster requested money from the victim instead of sending it. Without checking, the victim sent the amount.  It appears that the fraudsters duped him into believing he would receive money.

Another incident happened when a technician from Bangalore was called by an unknown individual who claimed to be an old friend. According to the caller, he was learning how to use Google Pay and wanted to deposit Rs 30,000 into the victim's account as an experiment. The victim received a notification on his phone that Rs 30,000 had been deposited into his account. They then talked for a while. During the conversation, the caller asked the victim to send back the money. In believing that the message he received was genuine, starting that Rs 30,000 had been credited to his account, he sent the money back to the caller. 

Upon checking his transaction details later, he was shocked to discover Rs 30,000 had not been credited to his account. The fraudster impersonated his old friend for the purpose of scamming him. When he realized he had been scammed, he reported the matter to the cybercrime police. Cyber investigators have sent a notice to the legal head of Google India, asking for him to appear as part of the investigation concerning the fraudulent Google Pay transaction. 

To prevent this type of fraud, Google Pay offers a blocking facility if someone you don't know requests a payment. The person whom you do not wish to contact can be blocked through Google Pay. Both Android and iOS users have access to this feature. 


How do these fraudulent activities take place?

The use of the Internet to obtain information illegally has become savvy among fraudsters.  These fraudsters pose as authentic representatives in order to gain access to personal data. They then steal the data by calling card owners and asking for sensitive information.

Phishing, which is a popular cyberattack, may come from emails, texts, or untrusted websites. There may be an email that appears to be from a legitimate company, asking the victim to click links or attachments in order to save money on gifts. However, by clicking the link, sensitive data can be stolen.

'Vishing' is another form of cyber theft that uses fake caller identification to send or receive messages posing as bank representatives. In this case, the fraudster may ask the victim to dial a number as well as their PIN and account number.

How can these types of fraud be avoided?

1. Don't provide any sensitive information over the phone, including credit card numbers, CVV numbers, one-time passwords, and UPI PIN numbers.  No banks or reputable companies will contact you to ask for personal information.

2. Don't Google any customer service numbers of companies or banks. Check their official website for customer service numbers.

3. Never click on links that are sent to you via SMS or email that you are unaware of.

4. Making or accepting advance payments is not recommended. Payments can be made and accepted using Vouch. This is a digital escrow service where your payment is released once the service has been performed. 

How does digital escrow work?

With digital escrow, a third-party account holds the buyer's money until the seller complies with the contract terms. An escrow company supervises all parties involved in the transaction.

What is the role of Digital Escrow in preventing online fraud in India? 

A smooth transfer of products and payment is assured with the Vouch Digital Escrow service, which secures payment flows between buyers and sellers. We can assure customers that they will be fairly compensated quickly and their orders will be delivered on time. Whenever fraudsters request QR codes or OTP codes or ask you to click on links that are phishing, you can avoid them easily by declining and requesting that the transaction be completed via Vouch

With Vouch Digital Escrow, you can open a non-interest-bearing escrow account for companies in India, and you will be kept in the loop at every stage of the process. All payments, shipping, and deliveries are handled under the watchful guidance of Vouch's professional team, so cheating and fraud are impossible. All of your questions will be answered by Vouch's professionals throughout the entire transaction. Vouch makes business transactions transparent, streamlined, and convenient.


This is Fraud Story #82. 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 letstalk@iamvouched.com