Fraudsters on prowl using ‘code’

Fraudsters looting shopkeepers through QR codes in guise of offering bulk orders

By   |  Published: 16th Dec 2019  12:31 amUpdated: 16th Dec 2019  12:51 am

Hyderabad: Cyber fraudsters have come up with yet another modus operandi by cheating shopkeepers in the guise of purchasing different products from them. The fraudsters target shopkeepers from different stores and branded companies in Hyderabad and other cities across the country and loot them heavily.

Officials said the majority of cyber offenders were from Mathura of Uttar Pradesh who have been committing crimes by adopting a particular modus operandi in the city. The process is set in by searching for shops on Google and collecting information from facilities such as Just Dial. They procure information of shops in and around the city and make calls intending to purchase products in bulk from them and eventually cheat them.

According to the Cyberabad Cybercrime police, shopkeepers who receive calls from such fraudsters, who make them believe that they will give bulk orders of their products through online, have to be cautious in further dealings.

“First they ask the shop owners for the phone number and other details which they were using for Google Pay or PhonePe or other UPI payment gateways. After getting to know the phone number of the shopkeeper and the UPI payment gateway, fraudsters generate the QR code in the particular application,” said a cybercrime official.

The QR code is then sent to the shop keeper via WhatsApp asking them to scan the code and enter the PIN from their application, the official added. This results in the amount getting debited from the shopkeeper’s account. The fraudsters convince the traders that the amount would be returned back into their accounts if the QR code sent by them is scanned again.

“In this manner, the fraudsters are cheating gullible shopkeepers in and around Hyderabad and defrauding them to the tune of lakhs of rupees,” the police said.

In a recent case reported at the Cybercrime police station, a businessman received a request for delivery of 20 litres of hydraulic oil estimated to cost about Rs 21,000. After collecting information related to mobile number used in UPI application, the tricksters sent a QR code through WhatsApp and asked him to scan the QR code for the payment via PhonePe. Accordingly, the complainant scanned the QR code thrice and resulting in debt of Rs 56,000 from his account in the process.

Citing such instances, the Cyberabad Police have warned citizens against being duped by such fraudsters and trade carefully while dealing with business deals only over phone.

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