Over half of the Indian consumers are now concerned about digital payments fraud compared to when COVID-19 first came into existence. Nearly one-third have been recent victims of card or digital payments fraud or know someone among their immediate family or friends who has been a victim of digital payment fraud. 

Fraud continues to be the biggest concern of consumers when it comes to digital transactions, followed by the risk of failed transactions. It has become easier to buy and sell items online, but it has also made it more difficult to detect scams and fraudulent activity. Many places are still safe to use, but always be cautious of sites and deals that seem suspicious. In order to avoid online scams, search for warning signs which warn you of what to avoid, such as goods listed for too low of prices, or people attempting to steal your personal information.

Got duped for Rs.60,000 while selling a cow.

The youth sought to sell his cow on an online marketplace in Bhubaneswar and was allegedly scammed out of Rs.60,000.  Debasish Sahoo, the youth who was scammed by the cybercriminal, lodged a complaint with Bharatpur Police Station in Bhubaneswar.

According to the complaint, Sahoo had been trying to sell his cow for some time. He posted an advertisement on Krishify on March 11 seeking to sell the cow when a fraudster posing as a potential buyer tricked him.

He received a call on the number he provided on the platform. In the imposter's introduction, he claimed to be an army officer named Manjit. He stated that he wanted to purchase the cow for his farm, and he agreed to buy it at a final price of Rs.20,000.

After agreeing on the deal the fraudster sent Sahoo a QR code to scan in order to make the payment. In his first payment, he sent a QR code of Rs.5 and this helped the fraudster gain Sahoo’s trust. 

After gaining his trust the fraudster sent him another QR code of Rs.20,000. When Sahoo scanned the QR code on his phone, Rs. 20,000 got debited from his bank account. The fraudster was confronted by Sahoo about the money getting deducted from his account.

Following Sahoo's confrontation about the transaction, the caller explained it was a technical problem. The caller then sent him another QR code of Rs.40,000, and after scanning it, Sahoo's bank account was charged Rs.40,000. As soon as the second transaction was completed, the caller's phone was switched off. Sahoo lost a total of Rs.60,000. 

How to stay safe while buying/selling online - 

1) Meet in person - You are less likely to get scammed if you buy and sell in person: as a buyer, you can inspect the item before handing over the money; as a seller, you can pocket the money on the spot. Moreover, you won't have to worry about packages getting lost or damaged.

2) Use a website that offers seller protections - Whenever you sell things online, you always run the risk of dealing with a shady buyer, which is why you should check their terms and conditions before you post anything.

3) Don't ignore red flags - Once you communicate with a seller or buyer, be vigilant for anything out of the ordinary. The moment you encounter someone who is making weird requests, giving no answers to basic questions, only wishing to communicate outside the app, or asking for an advance deposit, don’t continue with the process.

4) In cases where the buyer does not bargain or is very eager to pay a large amount for the product, you have to remain alert. Real buyers usually bargain when they buy products. Do not share the OTP or any personal banking information with anyone. OTPs are sent only when you transfer money from your bank account, not when you receive money from someone.

5) 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

Also check: What role does Escrow play in preventing fraud?

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 #99. 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