e-Commerce platforms have emerged as the top options these days to sell appliances and other items that you are not using anymore. However, the lack of understanding of app-based payment services and UPI among the general public are helping fraudsters fleece many innocent people.
It might be surprising to hear that a majority of well-educated netizens residing in metro cities are falling to e-commerce portal scams. Either the buyer or seller could be the target on popular platforms, with most of the victims being first-time internet/application users.
Payments made through online platforms are robust but susceptible to social engineering frauds. Below are a few things you must know about this scam before you think of selling or buying something on popular platforms.
Modus operandi by fraudsters as buyer
• You get a call from a ‘buyer’ as soon as you post an advertisement
• The ‘buyer’ never bargains and accepts the price you say
• The caller pretends as if he is trying to send money
• He then sends a QR Code to be scanned
• Or he requests for an UPI / OTP number to be sent by you
• They use social engineering tactics like continued phone conversations
• They also create panic by urging to close the deal soon
• Victims end up handing over OTP/UPI or scanning a code, lose money
• After payments are made, they either block your number or switch off
Modus operandi as seller
• You see an ad, someone tries to sell at less than market price
• ‘Seller’ claims to be an Army Officer in a rush to sell the product
• Caller asks you to send advance money via UPI / Scanning the QR Code
• Social engineering tactics, continued phone conversations
• Create panic by urging you to close the deal as early as possible
• Ask you to send additional advances like Military Transportation Charges, GST Charges, Inter State Taxes, Airport Parking Charges
• After advance is paid, you are blocked or they switch off
• You never get the product
A few points to note
• Most of the time, these people belong to the same gang
• They call using voice synthesisers and talk with different SIM Cards, They claim to be Military Transportation department officials or assistant or brother of Army Officer who is trying to sell the product
• Often fraudsters call up sellers trying to sell vehicles and request for RC Proof and other vehicle documents on the pretext of verifying authenticity
• They then create fake IDs and upload vehicle photographs / your photographs and show the RC Copy of the vehicle to other buyers and swindle from them
Tips to prevent the fraud:
• Verify emails and SMS carefully as fraudsters send fake ones to gain faith of the victim
• Physically check quality of products before purchasing online
• Always remember: Portals or bank officials never ask for sensitive financial information like credit/debit card details, OTPs, bank account details, net banking credentials, UPI PIN, etc.
• Never pay in advance for courier charges, processing fees, duty fees, custom amount, etc.
• Do proper verification of seller’s credentials
• Transfer the money to seller only after you get the goods
• Fraudsters deposit extra amount than the actual negotiated price Saying they are refunding money, they take it back by asking to scan QR codes
• Never transfer money while doing phone conversations
• To receive money you don’t need to scan QR code or share OTP / UPI numbers
Stay Tuned to Cyber Talk to know more about internet ethics and digital wellness brought to you by Anil Rachamalla, End Now Foundation, www.endnowfoundation.org
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