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. Kids' wear is something that fascinates all parents in the world. When their kids grow up, these clothes are either thrown away or donated to orphanages. In order to capture the best moments of their kids, parents leave no stones unturned for buying the best and attractive attires for their kids and record everything in videos or photos.   

Lost INR 950/- to a fake Whatsapp seller

This is the story of Nilima, who received a message from Neha (supposedly a fake name) in WhatsApp, offering her kids wear collections and she claimed to be a wholesaler from Delhi. Nilima was searching for kids wear through Facebook groups where she left her number for genuine recommendations. As you know, the established e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra charges a lot than these offline wholesalers. Due to the pandemic situation, the wholesalers have started selling online through social media platforms. With the increase of these sellers, scammers have become highly active on these platforms, while targeting genuine customers and posing to them as wholesalers. Nilima had little idea that she was also going to fall for a similar scam. After going through all the photos sent by the seller, Neha, she chooses two of them and asked her for the price. Neha asked her to transfer INR 950/- in advance so that she can start the delivery process. While transferring the amount through PhonePe, Nilima found that the account name was Kamlesh Kumar, but still, she transferred the amount without asking any questions. As usual, after receiving the amount, the seller never shared any delivery tracking ID and after a month went by, the seller blocked Nilima in call and on WhatsApp. So you can understand clearly, the point Nilima saw the account name was different from the seller name, she must have interrogated further, instead, she let it go. At last, Nilima had no option left other than posting the fraud on social media groups to generate awareness.

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 #92. 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