The fraudsters get creative when it comes to these kinds of scams. The spammers would target genuine buyers and customers of authentic online marketplaces or websites by offering deals and lucky prizes that are too good to be true.

Fraudsters will ask for payment of a variety of fees once they have obtained your personal information - for example, taxes, legal fees, banking fees, etc. - so that they can release non-existent winnings. As soon as you make this payment, the fraudsters will come up with a reason why you won't get your winnings until you made another payment. In addition, they will explain why you can't take these fees out of your winnings and must pay them upfront.

Mumbai man loses Rs 5 lakh to cyber fraud for availing Rs 12 lakh lottery money

A 47-year-old Mumbai resident was defrauded of Rs 5.47 lakh by cybercriminals for the amount he paid as processing fees to obtain a lottery prize of Rs 12 lakh.

In May, the victim had ordered a bedsheet from an online shopping portal called Naaptol, according to Mumbai police. During the month of July, he received an email stating he had won a lottery ticket. In the email, it stated that Naaptol had organized a lucky draw for its customers as part of its 10-year anniversary celebrations. The victim discovered that he had won Rs 12 lakh when he scratched the lottery ticket.

In order to claim the prize, he contacted the mobile number listed in the letter. After that, the man needed to pay different taxes, GST, processing fees, and other miscellaneous charges amounting to Rs 5.47 lakh. Payment continued until August 14. In spite of paying the amount, he didn’t receive his prize money. A few days later, when he called the number to check on the status, the fraudster asked for an extra Rs 58,000 as service tax, and that is when he realized that he had been scammed. Having contacted Naaptol, the online portal's executive told the man they don't send tickets or letters, so he reported the incident to the police.

Naaptol is taking multiple steps to keep customers aware of the fraud by using calls, SMSes, emails, television tickers, and TV promos. Moreover, their legal team submits complaints on such frauds to the police and supports them with the information that they get from their customers on such frauds.

Also Check: Fraud Story #94 - Lady lost Rs. 2 lakhs on shopping on Snapdeal

To avoid a "Lucky Winner" scam, here are a few things you can do:

1) You Must Enter to Win - If you don't remember entering a contest, you are 99% likely to have fallen for a ruse. Don't let the scammer convince you that you may have entered an offer or qualified through a website you visited because they'll soon have you participating in a “one-time offer that you simply can't miss.”

2) Do not divulge personal information - Giving out personal information to unknown callers is never a good idea. Before you give out your personal information, make sure you know whom you are dealing with. Your name, your birthday, and where you live are all little details scammers can use to get your personal information and use it for their own purposes.

3) It is recommended that digital escrow platforms be used for payment. When making an online payment with Escrow, you do not share 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? 

Vouch Digital Escrow ensures the smooth transfer of products and payments to buyers by securing transactions between buyers and sellers. Customer orders will be delivered on time and customers will be fairly compensated quickly. Fraudsters will usually ask for QR codes or OTP codes or ask you to click on phishing links, but you can easily avoid them by declining and requesting the transaction to be completed with Vouch. 

Vouch Digital Escrow offers non-interest-bearing escrow accounts for companies in India, and you will be kept in the loop throughout the process. During the whole process of payment, shipping, and deliveries, Vouch's professional team continuously watches over every aspect, so that cheating and fraud are impossible. Vouch's professionals will answer all of your questions throughout the transaction. With Vouch, business transactions are transparent, streamlined, and convenient.

 This is Fraud Story #95. 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. 

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