Shopping for clothes online, ordering food from an app and booking tickets through our phones is both fun and convenient. Provided we don’t get duped by fraudsters. In the past, people have been scammed while buying beer, seeking a refund for canceled movie tickets and also initiating a return for a product with size issues. And the learning from all of these cases is to never make the cardinal error of disclosing sensitive data like OTPs, ATM PIN or SIM card number.
The Times of India reports that on October 27, a 25-year-old IIT Bombay student ordered a pizza at 8 pm. Unsatisfied with the quality, she filed a complaint with the food delivery platform. When no action was taken, she googled their customer care helpline but her call went unanswered.
In her police case filed on November 3, the victim revealed,
“A few minutes later, I got a call from another number and the person said he is from the online food service customer care centre. He agreed to refund the money and asked me to click on the link he is sending. I entered my mobile number and the amount to refund along with the UPI PIN. Within no time, three transactions were done. When I tried to call the same number, it was switched off.”
That’s how the fraudster made off with Rs.27,000 from her account.
Mid-Day quoted a police officer explaining that the helpline number had been hacked. Furthermore,
“He asked her to scan the code so that the refund process is initiated. The victim was unaware that the code sent to her was the pay request to get money debited from her account.”
Cases of cheating, identity theft and cheating by personation have been filed against the scammer. To safeguard our finances, it is important to remember that OTPs, QR codes and UPI PINs are required to make payments and not receive them. Also, suspicious links asking for personal data are red flags.