Delhi Police warn OLX users on QR code frauds. Here's how you can avoid losing money
Delhi Police commissioner SN Srivastava on Sunday warned people against online marketplace OLX and local search engine company Just Dial among others and asked users to watch a video in order to avoid getting conned. "Delhi Police has prepared a short awareness video in-house on QR Code frauds, which are very common with users of OLX and Just Dial. Please watch it and avoid getting trapped by frauds," Srivastava said in a tweet.
Citing the example of OLX website, which has seen a spike in cybercrime and frauds in the last few years, the police commissioner said that people use the platform to sell old furniture and the video alerts the users about a common fraud.
Here are the steps listed out by the Delhi Police video on OLX QR code frauds:
1. Victim lists a product (old furniture, refrigerator, air conditioner etc) for sale on OLX, Facebook Market place, Just Dial in a bid to find a buyer.
2. Fraudsters posing as buyer contacts the owner of the item over phone and offers to pay in advance.
3. To initiate the process of duping and conning the buyer, the fraudster further shares fake ID cards.
4. In some cases, the fraudsters have also impersonated army personnel.
5. In their final stage of fraud, the criminals share QR code over WhatsApp asking the victim to scan it to receive the payment.
6. Following this, the victim scans QR code on his wallet apps such as PayTM, UPI and other payment platforms.
7. Once the QR code is scanned, money gets debited instead of being credited.
Senior officials of Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell said the number of cybercrime cases reported in the national capital spiked during last year's lockdown period, from nearly 2,000 in March to over 4,000 in May, as fraudsters adopted new methods to cheat people. "QR code cheating through Olx app became famous. Accused posed as customers and sent QR codes which when used would deduct money from victim's account," Prem Nath, joint commissioner of police (Cyber Cell), said in February.
Cybercriminals, police said, have adopted a new modus operandi as fraudsters target people by creating fake government websites offering financial assistance, subsidies and government jobs. In other methods, the police have found extortion of money using edited porn videos, customer care, online search manipulation, phishing links in the name of schemes, and news and alert pushed through emails and WhatsApp.
According to data shared by the Delhi Police, 62% of the cybercrime reported in the Capital were related to online financial fraud, 24% were related to social media and 14% to other cybercrime.
The QR code method of fraud is on the rise as several parts of the country have witnessed this form of duping in the recent past. The Jammu and Kashmir police last week arrested two people from Rajasthan who extorted ₹1 lakh on the pretext of buying an old refrigerator, for which a seller had advertised on OLX. "The fraudsters convinced the complainant to scan a 'QR code' sent through mobile to receive money to buy the refrigerator but eventually managed to debit ₹1 lakh from his SBI bank account in five transactions,” a police official told PTI.