Pune Woman Seeks ₹107 Refund, Loses ₹82,000 To Fake Customer Care Executives

Do you know what I hate about online shopping? Refund policies of e-commerce portals. They make you go through various hoops and wait at least 15 business days for it to be processed. If you’re lucky, you get the money back. If you’re not, well, then the saga of complaints and phone calls to the company’s customer support begins.

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As if the whole experience wasn’t tedious enough already, fraudsters have also come into the mix. I knew that clicking on fake links could get me scammed but I wasn’t aware of fake customer care representatives.

Fraud callers could be posing as support staff, as it happened in this case

On November 3, 2018, a 25-year-old Pune resident ordered a ring online. It didn’t fit her well so she returned it and sought a refund of INR 107. When it wasn’t processed, she called customer care and was asked for her card details. She gave her OTP as well. Three times. The fraudsters promptly withdrew INR 1600 in 3 transactions.

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Then she registered a complaint on the website. This time they wanted details of another card to ‘process the refund’, so she provided her father’s information. The scamsters instructed her to click a link sent to the father’s mobile phone and then switch off the device. Later, they found that his account had been wiped clean of around INR 80,000.

Faraskhana police inspector, Sambhaji Shirke, informed the Times of India that the victim’s father had lodged a complaint with them after the incident. On February 7, 2019, 3 people were arrested under IPC sections 419 (cheating by personation) and 420 (cheating) and relevant provisions of the IT Act.

I know you’ve heard this a gazillion times already, but never ever share your OTPs with anyone. And check the call centre’s number from the e-tailer’s official website. Better safe than sorry, right?