15 Techniques Frauds Use That Every Indian Should Be Aware Of

Everyday in India, many innocent people are being duped off their hard earned money by fraudsters, be it online or in person. The scamsters take advantage of loopholes in technology and processes and take the common man for a ride.

Here are 15 common ways scamsters pull off their tricks and how to avoid them.

1. Duplicate cards (by Skimming/ Cloning)

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In this method, your card is fraudulently skimmed to record your account details stored on the magnetic strip (the brown/black strip at the back of a card). The information is then used to make duplicates. There are skimming machines of various shapes and sizes to carry out this illegal activity.

2. Fake websites that look like your bank website (Phishing)

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Phishing emails are fraudulent emails that are designed to look and feel like a genuine email (say from your bank) & it will lead to a fake website that looks and feels like your bank website. When you enter username, password etc, it records the information.

3. Empty parcels through VPP

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Parcels sent through the postal department where the receiver needs to pay for the value of the article is known as Value Payable Post (VPP). Fraudsters misuse it to send empty parcels (or filled with bricks, saw dust etc.) at your residential address. Once you pay for it, the fraudsters receive the money.

4. Foreign Money Transfer Scam

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This is one of the most common online frauds of recent times. You receive an email from a foreign national (mostly Nigerian) stating that their country is under siege and a very rich enterprise/business family wants to transfer a large sum of money to India. They promise a tempting fee if you help them. They ask for advances a couple of times and then you won’t hear from them.

5. Account takeovers and identity theft (Cyber Swindlers)

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Cyber swindlers take over your account and identity. Unauthorized use of card details to make online purchases, breaking into email accounts to send unauthorized emails. Register for Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code, notification emails and SMS.

6. Fake Gold Digger

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This one is interesting. You receive a call from an unknown Indian mobile number (mostly from Rajasthan) where the person claims that they are sand labourers. They would tell you the story of how they found kilograms of gold hidden under the land. As they want to dispose it quickly, they would invite you to buy it from them at a cheaper price than market value.

7. Fake Memberships and Free Holiday Packages

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This one is a dirty little smart scam. While in a mall, have you ever filled out flyers handed out by random guy/girl standing in the corner? Under the pretext of a lottery, your personal information is sold to travel companies who call you up congratulating you on winning a holiday package.

They will invite you to a posh hotel where you’ll find other numerous ‘winners’ like you. Once you sing up, they suck you into huge hidden costs.

8. Fake calls from your bank

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In this case, you receive a phone call from a person posing as a bank official from your bank asking for personal details. The truth is banks never ask for personal details over phone or in emails. You should never reveal your account/personal information to anyone over phone, email or in person.

9. Photocopy centers

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Identity theft happens at photocopy centers too. Many shop owners take commission to sell private information to fraudsters. Never leave your documents, always do it in your presence.

10. Fake investment companies offering high returns

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In this method, you’ll be tricked into believing in a fraud investment company that promises unbelievably high returns in a short period of time. Usually they advertise in the classified sections of newspapers and online banners.

These companies operate for a few months by paying you part of your own money from new users and then disappear completely.

11. Fake employment offers

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These fraudsters offer guaranteed employment opportunities in India or abroad. They then ask you to remit the fees for further action. What happens after you pay the fees? Anyone’s guess.

12. Online jackpot lottery/ SMS UK Lottery

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In this method, you either receive an email/SMS claiming that you’ve won a jackpot. You’ll end up paying advance processing fees.

There’s no free lunch. So never fall for such scams.

13. Pay To Click Ads Scams

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Under this illegal scheme, you’ll be promised huge payouts if you click on ads in websites. After a few days you’ll realize that even if you click thousand of ads, you’ll never reach the minimum payout threshold. Eventually, you’ll get fed up and quit.

14. Fake online home job + Fake survey scam

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Fake online jobs are like Fake employment offers; they are looking for your advance fees. After that, they vanish into thin air.

While some fake surveys can be genuine, the payment is so low that you’ll eventually feel like a slave and quit it. That’s their main motive: to make you work for hours and throw chutte/chillers (change) at you. And when you quit, they win.

15. Key-loggers at Internet cafés

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Internet cafes/ public computers are more susceptible to frauds and identity thefts. There are software and hardware that may be running without your knowledge that capture each and every movement, key press and other browsing information of yours.

Always maintain a secondary email account for printout and photocopy purpose. Make sure that even if it gets stolen, it shouldn’t make a difference to you.

When with the click of a button lakhs of rupees can vanish into thin air, it’s better to be vigilant. Better be aware than sorry!

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