Be on the lookout for scams in advance

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Posted: Date Posted – 12:45 AM, Tue – Jul 26, 22

Fraudsters trick victims into paying advances on the pretext of winning the lottery or getting a gift or being offered a loan.

Social engineering crimes committed by fraudsters posing as buyers and sellers have increased dramatically. Phishing, vishing and smishing (messages sent via email, social media and SMS platforms) are techniques used to trick customers into disclosing passwords, credit or debit card numbers, CVV, OTP, MPIN, UPIN and QR Code. Fraudsters use this information to log into a customer’s account, change passwords and shipping address, and make unauthorized purchases.

In recent times, advance payment scams have started to appear, where fraudsters trick victims into paying advances (application fees, processing fees, income tax and GST fees, etc.) under the pretense to win a lottery or a gift or to be offered a loan. . A detailed explanation of prepayment is given below for lottery, loan and gift fraud.

Operating mode

1. A lottery won by the victim
(a) In a usual lottery scam, fraudsters send WhatsApp messages to victims from unknown numbers claiming that their mobile number has won a lottery organized by reputable organizations and to claim this lottery they show the number of victim’s phone mentioned in the fake video ad.
(b) When the victim contacts them, the scammer tells them that they must first pay (i) a processing fee, (ii) a GST fee, etc. The scammers only communicate through WhatsApp, and they ask the victim to deposit money in various bank accounts and ask the victim to pay additional charges under the guise of income tax, etc., etc. It keeps going around in circles until all the money is collected from the victim.
(c) Finally, when the victim starts asking for the lottery amounts, they stop calling him and interrupt the WhatsApp numbers.

2. A sanctioned loan to the victim
(a) People in debt are identified and offered secured loans with an upfront fee to be paid. They contact victims using phishing, vishing and smishing methods.
(b) They ask for all relevant information, unlike any professional loan approval process, and they insist on upfront fees such as insurance fees, processing fees, GST, etc.,
(c) Finally, when the victim starts asking for the loan amount, she stops calling him and interrupts WhatsApp numbers.

3. Gift (scratch card) sent to victim
(a) Scratch scams consist of receiving mail containing colored brochures and a scratch card. It is important to note that there are prizes for all default scratch cards.
(b) When the victim calls to claim the prize, the scammers ask for upfront fees, processing fees, GST or gift taxes to be paid before the victim receives the winnings.
(c) Finally, when the victim starts asking for details about the delivery of the gift, she stops calling him and deletes the WhatsApp numbers.

Due to the lack of awareness among the general public, this type of scam can go unnoticed on a few occasions. The emergency tactics used by fraudsters are first-come, first-served offers; your loan offer will expire in 24 hours; your loan is offered without CIBIL score verification.

How to stay safe

* Read reviews, consider reputation and read return policies
* Always communicate with the app’s built-in tools and never communicate outside of the app
* User verified apps from App Store or Play Store
* Look for secure payment (https://—URL with a key symbol)
* Never share OTP/PIN numbers with buyer or seller
* Never make transactions while you are on call
* Enable two-factor authentication for all email, social media and e-commerce accounts
* Do not click or fill in short links provided by buyer or seller
* Do not fill out Google form links provided by buyer or seller
* Do not give remote access to laptop or mobile phone to strangers
* Winning the lottery without buying a lottery ticket is fraud
* Get a cash-on-demand package that you didn’t order for
* Never prepay for a loan that has not yet been sanctioned; typically, processing fees are deducted and loan amounts are disbursed.
* If you scan a QR code, it means money is deducted from your account
* Never call the customer service number taken from Google search; dial the actual number mentioned on official website and apps
* Report cybercrime as soon as possible at https://www.cybercrime.gov.in or call the nationwide toll free number (1930)

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