On the internet, we can accomplish anything in a snap. Although it provides added convenience, the internet is also a very unsafe place. Every day, cybercrime is increasing and scammers are finding new and innovative ways to defraud people.
Posing as army personnel, fraudsters contact the person who is selling a product online. Most of the time, they target apps like OLX and Quikr. They go through a conversation that seems legit to the victim. When both parties agree on a price, the fraudster claims he cannot pay cash.
In the next step, fraudsters demand to pay for the product via online payment apps like Paytm and Google Pay. The scammer guides the victim through the process and provides a QR code, which he says can be used to obtain the money. Upon falling for it, the victim scans the QR code and enters the UPI Pin to pay rather than receive.
Fraudsters pose as Army personnel, dupe cashew sellers of Rs 40,000
A 35-year-old woman and her husband sell cashews as a side business. They have a Facebook page that advertises the business and they accept orders over the phone. Recently, they were duped by cyber-fraudsters who posed as Indian Army soldiers and tricked them into transferring Rs.40,000 under the pretext of paying an advance.
A person contacted them on their Facebook page with an interest in purchasing a large quantity of cashews. He also provided his phone number in the message. The woman called the number, and the person answering the phone introduced himself as 'Manjeet Singh,' a havaldar in an Indian army camp in Khadki, Pune. He asked what types of cashews were available, the woman sent him a list of cashews, and he ordered 50kgs of cashews.
The woman told him that they only make the deliveries after receiving the payment in advance. The fraudster said he would confirm the order with his senior who is a major in the Indian Army and get back to her.
The fraudster called back the next day and said they were ready to buy the cashews and would pay in advance. The woman asked him for identification before accepting the payment. Fraudsters sent her an ID card of an Indian army havaldar. To make the payment, the woman was contacted by a second fraudster pretending to be Major Sandeep Kumar Sharma. He sent her a link and requested her to click on the link to receive the payment. As soon as the woman clicked on the link, she saw that Rs. 2 were deducted from her account, and soon after, Rs. 4 were credited.
The fraudster sent the woman another link, and the woman clicked on it, and Rs 20,000 was taken from her account. When the woman called to confront him, the fraudster said there was some technical error and sent another link. Once again, the woman clicked on the link and another 20,000 rupees were deducted. The woman called him again and this time he started arguing with her. She shared the story on social media and filed a police complaint against the scammers once she realized she was duped.
How can this fraud be avoided?
1. To avoid this type of fraud, one thing you should always remember is that you do not have to enter a UPI PIN when receiving money. The UPI PIN must only be entered when paying money.
2. If you receive an unauthorized money request, decline it and inform the company responsible.
3. People claiming to be army personnel should never be trusted. Using this method, fraudsters get people to trust them and steal their hard-earned cash.
4. Using a digital escrow platform is recommended for making or receiving payments. With Escrow, you do not need to share any of your financial information with anyone. There is a platform for escrow called Vouch.
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 #87. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org