Be on the lookout for advance fee fraud | #socialmedia


Published: Published Date – 12:45 AM, Tue – 26 July 22

Fraudsters trick victims into paying advance amounts on the
pretext of either winning a lottery or gift or being offered a loan.

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

In recent times, advance payment frauds have started emerging, where fraudsters trick victims into paying advance amounts (application fee, processing fee, income tax and GST fee etc.,) on the pretext of either winning a lottery or gift or being offered a loan. A detailed explanation of advance payment is given below for lottery, loan and gift fraud.

Modus Operandi

1. A lottery won by victim
(a) In a usual lottery scam, fraudsters send WhatsApp messages to victims from unknown numbers claiming that their mobile number won a lottery organised by reputed organisations and so to assert that lottery, they show victim’s contact number mentioned in the fake video announcement.
(b) When the victim contacts them, the fraudster tells him/her that they have to first pay a (i) processing fee, (ii) GST fee, etc. The fraudsters communicate only through WhatsApp, and they request the victim to deposit money in various bank accounts and request the victim to pay further fees on the pretext of income tax, etc., and so on. This keeps going 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/her and discontinue the WhatsApp numbers.

2. A loan sanctioned to the victim
(a) Debt-ridden people are identified and offered guaranteed 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 advance fees such as insurance fee, processing fee, GST etc.,
(c) Finally, when the victim starts asking for the loan amount, they stop calling him/her and discontinue the WhatsApp numbers.

3. Gift (Scratch card) sent to the victim
(a) Scratch scams involve getting mail containing colourful brochures and a scratch card along with it. It is important to note that there are prizes for all scratch cards by default.
(b) When victim calls to claim prize, scammers ask for advance fee, processing fee, GST, or gift taxes to be paid before the victim gets the winnings.
(c) Finally, when the victim starts asking for gift delivery details, they stop calling him/her and discontinue the WhatsApp numbers.

Because of the general public’s lack of awareness, this type of scam can go unnoticed for a few times. Urgency tactics used by fraudsters are first come-first served offers; your loan offer will expire in 24 hours; your loan is offered without a CIBIL score check.

How to stay safe

* Read reviews, consider reputation, and read return policies
* Always communicate with inbuilt tools of application and never communicate outside the application
* User verified apps from Apps Store or Play Store
* Look for Secure Payment (https://—URL with a Key Symbol)
* Never share OTP/PIN numbers with buyer or seller
* Never do transactions while you are on call
* Enable two-factor authentication for all email, social media and e-commerce accounts
* Do not click and fill up any short links provided by buyer or seller
* Do not fill Google form links provided by buyer or seller
* Do not give remote access to laptop or mobile to unknown people
* Winning a lottery without buying a lottery ticket is a fraud
* Getting a parcel as cash on demand for which you haven’t ordered
* Never pay advance for loan that is yet to be sanctioned; usually processing fee is deducted and loan amounts are disbursed.
* If you scan a QR code, it means money is being deducted from your account
* Never call customer care number taken from Google search; dial the actual number mentioned on the official website and applications
* Report cybercrime as soon as possible on https://www.cybercrime.gov.in or call national toll-free number (1930)



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