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5 Online Financial Frauds everyone must know

A fool and his money are soon parted.

As we step into the outer world, we are fascinated by a lot of things, most of which comprises of materialistic assets. We are always in a haste to become famous, to have lots of money, go on expensive trips, eat in 5-star restaurants. However, in the digitally connected world, the presence of thieves is not limited to the deserted roads.

As it has become easier to get connected to people across the world, we are vulnerable to online frauds, scams, putting our money and hard work in vain. The worst part is that the scammer is always at an advantage to impersonate or conceal his actual identity and status.

Following is a list of 5 frauds/ scams one must be aware of:

  1. Multi-level marketing/ Quest Net Scam

    This is a scam which has taken the entire country by storm. Unfortunately, on a daily basis, people are falling prey to this scam. All over the country, there is an entire chain of people (in thousands) who brainwash you into this scam. They make you realise that all your life you have been living in misery and it's high time when you can uplift and become a 'self-made person' who can easily turn his startup idea into reality within no time. They ask you to invest a nominal amount (minimum 2-3 lakhs to be precise) and fascinate you with sponsored international trips, expensive cars, lavish lifestyle.

    A scam by a Hong-Kong based company Quest Net (Qnet) has drained the hard-earned money of lakhs of innocent middle-class people PAN India. In the hearing of the multi- crore scam of Qnet operating in India by the name of Vihaan Direct Selling (India) Pvt Ltd., Bombay High Court observed that the motto of the company is camouflaged and the sole intention is to fool others. It is a chain where a person is fooled and then he is trained to fool others to earn money. For that purpose, workshops are conducted where study and business material is provided with a jugglery of words, promises and dreams. Thus, the deceit and fraud is camouflaged under the name of e-­marketing and business.
  2. Credit Card Fraud

    Many times, a message pops up in your phone telling you that your phone number or your account has won a lottery for Rs 5,00,000 and you are required to give bank details so that they can deposit the money in your account. Sometimes, we receive a call from our 'Bank' we have our account in. They try to gain your confidence by reciting the first six digits and asking you to deposit the credit card monthly amount, else your account will be blocked. Then, they ask you to tell the OTP (One time password) you receive on your number and the moment you tell the OTP, your account is debited with all your money.

    Even though banks keep on running campaigns regarding this, many times people have fallen prey to this scam. We all are well familiar with the Jamatra credit card fraud wherein in 2017, Jamatra, a district in Jharkhand had become a hub for the maximum number of abovementioned cybercrime in the country.
  3. App-based loan companies' fraud

    Many a time we find ourselves in a situation where we are falling short of funds, especially when we have just started earning. We are stuck in a situation where neither can we afford credit cards nor we find it suitable to approach a near one for help. These apps seem like a blessing in disguise when faced with such a situation. Although, there are many articles doing rounds talking about the genuineness of such apps, there are several reasons why the author regards them not only fraudulent but also an invitation to harassment.

    These apps mostly target college-going students and young professionals within the age group of 24-28 who have just started earning money. They provide loan for an amount ranging between Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 50,000.

    Unlike banking institutions, there is the least filing of formalities. The interest rate is between 24-30%. Now, the problem arises, when the person is unable to deposit the money. When the person asks for a moratorium or is unable to pay the entire amount in one go, that's where the problem arises. These apps have people working for them, who make a list of such 'defaulters' and start harassing them with threatening WhatsApp messages, calling them late at night, sending them fake FIRs, legal notices.,

    Also, these companies start asking for penalty amounting to double or equal the sanctioned loan amount. A person harassed by similar act had approached RBI asking for a moratorium, wherein the RBI informed the person that the said NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company) is not registered with RBI and the person shall contact Registrar of Companies. There are several app-based loan companies which are operating in this fashion such as Rupeefast, Cash flow, Timely cash, Momo, Kissht, etc. and are using aggressive methods to recover the loan amount.

  4. Freelance Sites fraud

    Earn from home! Earn 5000 an hour! All these ads really make us wonder if it is that easy to earn money online, how come people commute for 2 hours a day for a lesser paying job. Even though there are genuine sites, the traffic of 'freelancing' has covered the internet to such an extent that it has now become simply impossible to pick out genuine ones from the fraudulent ones.

    The most fraudulent ones are those which involve data entry. The author came across certain reviews of a site called Resumebott which has fooled several people.

    The reviews vividly explain the operation of the abovementioned site. You receive a message in your phone asking you to register on the abovementioned site. Then, you are given one week-two weeks' time to fill the details of resume in a form. The deadline is to fill 250 resumes (minimum) within the stipulated time. Thereafter, you are lured by messages filing your phone with schemes like fill 700 resumes and get 70 rupees for each resume. Thereafter, you are called by some typing agencies, which ask for the id and password and tell you that they will fill the form in 4 hours and will take Rs. 1500 as advance and the rest after payment.

    This doesn't ends here. If you decide to fill out those 250 forms all by yourself, you will receive a message informing you that the form required 80% accuracy and you failed by 5% or so. Thereafter they will ask to shift the deadline for you (exclusively) by 4 days to 1 week on payment of say, Rs. 2000/-. So, in all, you lose your valuable time and sometimes, your hard-earned money.

  5. Second-hand product-based sites fraud

    We all have come across sites like quickr, olx etc. People consider buying second-hand products at a great bargained price than going for a brand new one. Since this market saw a boom in India, there are people who are fraudulently making a fortune out of it. Recently a twitter was published by the officials of CISF wherein some antisocial elements have been putting up ads for sale of second-hand products like car, luxury furniture at a tremendously cheaper price.

    These elements have been using fake IDs of defence and police professionals in order to gain trust and thereby asking the people to pay 10% or 50% advance to book the product. One must be extra cautious while coming across such sites because one can easily lose money fascinated by such great deals.
We are well versed with the phrase All that glitters is not gold. It's important to not to be fascinated by the ads and deals we come across and trust blindly. Also, when it comes to the above mentioned frauds and scams, it is always better to prevent than to cure. The reason is the difficulty in tracing out the criminals behind them. These people leverage through the loopholes of the cyberspace and it would take a lot of time and hard work for even the cyber police to trace them down.

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