The recent news about Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s daughter falling victim to an online scam has left many perturbed amid a feeling that they might be next. The fact that internet scams are so prevalent in India warrants users to safeguard themselves against such bad actors and exercise caution whenever they are online.
India is expected to cross 927 million internet users in 2025 and by then you can also expect a proportional rise in the number of hackers online.
In order to protect ourselves online, we also need to be aware of the different ways hackers can target us. So, here are different types of online frauds that can be used against you and ones you need to be wary of.
Fraud on OLX
Frauds on OLX have become very common these days. Kejriwal’s daughter was also a victim of this kind of fraud. Here, fraudsters pose as genuine sellers and collect money from the buyer without delivering the product. In the past, many fake sellers have posed as Indian Army personnel on OLX to gain the trust of buyers on the platform and then later dupe them.
Phishing or email scams
Phishing is one of the most common types of online frauds where fraudsters steal your personal information by posing as a registered company or a genuine person. Phishing involves fraudsters sending fake emails and hyperlinks with the intention of stealing the user’s banking and other sensitive financial information. Most of these emails have attachments or links that take you to fake websites where you are asked to enter your UPI code or bank details. Remember, clicking on such links can also lead to your systems being infected with viruses or malware.
In this type of fraud, a hacker steals your identity and poses as you to approach banks and your friends/family to ask for loans and financial aid. In case these loans are approved, you will be liable for the payment of these loans. These hackers also use platforms like Facebook and Instagram to contact your friends (posing as you) and then ask for money. Read more about a similar fraud on Facebook that we wrote about on BGR.in.
Lottery fraud is among the top three frauds in India. Here, fraudsters send people emails and messages on WhatsApp stating that you have won a lottery worth crores. To claim the lottery you are asked to submit a small amount on a particular number in the name of tax. Once you make the payment the fraudster deletes his/her number and disappears. There are times that people are asked to make payment via fake websites through credit/debit cards. Beware! Websites like these can be used to steal your card details.
Work from home scam
This is a type of fraud where fraudsters promise individuals an online job opportunity in exchange for a handsome remuneration just by working for a few hours. These job seekers are asked to deposit a certain amount to avail the opportunity and receive the online job kit. After the money is deposited, these fraudsters disappear without a trace.
Online shopping fraud
In online shopping fraud, hackers set up a fake shopping website and invite people to buy stuff from it at very cheap prices. Once the payment is made, the website either ships to you a fake product or you might never get the delivery. The Escobar Phone is the perfect example of such a scam and many people have been duped into ordering the phone from its official website with a promise that they will get a foldable phone for under Rs 30,000. Read more about the Escobar Phone here.
This kind of fraud pops up mainly during the tax season in India. Here taxpayers are asked to reply to SMSs and WhatsApp messages sent by fraudsters where they ask these taxpayers to enter their bank details and other sensitive information to get a tax refund.
Matrimonial websites and apps today have millions of subscribers using their services for a premium. Since the marriage market in India is always booming, fraudsters are always in the hunt for weaknesses in the system that they can exploit. Here, these rouge elements create fake profiles and dupe money from these users after establishing trust with them. This is a common practice in India and something you should be more vigilant about.
Credit card reward point fraud
There are millions of credit card users in India. Each user receives points on their cards when they make purchases. Fraudsters use this system to their advantage. In this type of fraud, certain bad actors promise credit cardholder assistance in redeeming their reward points. They also try to create a sense of urgency among the customers stating that the offer will end soon. This leads to many cardholders entering a state of panic and usually end up making the mistake of sharing card details with the fraudsters.
Also, if you want to know how to be safe while surfing the internet you should have a look at our story on internet safety.