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Kejriwal's daughter loses Rs 34,000 in Olx scam, here is what happened and how to avoid such fraud

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's daughter was recently a victim ofan online scam where she tried to sell an old sofa set on OLX but was dupped of Rs 34,000 by an online scammer.

twitter-logoManas Tiwari | February 9, 2021 | Updated 14:27 IST
OLX QR Code scam
The fraudsters either send a QR code or a request to accept payment on the pretext of buying the item.

Highlights

  • Delhi CM's daughter fell victim to a scam on OLX.
  • Fraudsters asking users to scan QR code for payment.
  • Users end up losing money from their account.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's daughter was recently a victim of an online scam where she tried to sell an old sofa set on OLX but was dupped of Rs 34,000 by an online scammer. As shocking as it may sound, these types of scams have become common on e-commerce platforms where fraudsters loot users because of latter's lack of knowledge about online payments. Online marketplace OLX has been one of the key victims of these scams and users across the country have complained of being duped on the platform.

In the latest case, a complaint was filed at the Civil Lines Police Station near the CM residence. The police have filed a case of cheating and started looking for the accused.

What happened with Arvind Kejriwal's daughter?

The Delhi CM's daughter, Harshita Kejriwal who has a chemical engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Delhi), was trying to sell a second-hand sofa on the popular sale-purchase online platform OLX. She was approached by an interested buyer on the platform and the two agreed for a deal. The imposter sent Harshita a QR code and asked her to scan it in order to receive the amount. First, he transferred a small amount into her account to establish authenticity. Then, debited Rs 34,000 from her account in two separate instalments - first Rs 20,000 and then Rs 14,000.

How this scam works?

In this type of scam, fraudsters make use of Unified Payments Interface or UPI after gaining victim's trust, as in case of Delhi CM's daughter. UPI has emerged as one of the most convenient ways to transferring money with the rising popularity of apps like Google Pay, PhonePe, and others. It is easy, simple and instant. However, the lack of technical know how about the feature is being exploited by fraudsters to scam users.

The fraudsters either send a QR code or a request to accept payment on the pretext of buying the item listed by the victim. In some cases, they show unnecessary urgency and are willing to pay even without checking the item, claiming that they don't to miss out on the deal. In either case, the intention is to fraud the user. The scammer asks the user to either scan the QR code or accept the payment request, otherwise the transaction will fail.

The victims, due to their lack of knowledge or urgency to sell the product, often forget that receiving payment doesn't require any action from their end and fall for the tap. As soon as they scan the QR code or accept the request, the amount is deducted from their account. After this, the fraudster simply disappears from the scene.

Unfortunately, OLX has become a hunting ground for these fraudsters and several such cases have been reported from different parts of the country.

How to avoid such fraud?

The users need to remain calm and composed while doing such deals on e-commerce platforms. They should assess everything before accepting any payment request. The basic thing to keep in mind is that all UPI apps ask users to enter their UPI PIN or M-PIN while making a payment, which differs for every linked bank account. This is not required to accept payments. So, if the app asks you to put this PIN after scanning the QR code, it should be the first flag. Do not enter the code and cancel the transaction. The same goes for the payment requests sent. They also seek the M-PIN from users before deducting the amount.

"They initially transfer Rs 10 by saying test payment which gets credited instantly, then they request higher amount by sending QR code which requires 2FA (UPI PIN), the process is simple but awareness is required. The users fail to understand that only debit will request for authentication in the form of OTP, password, MPIN, UPI PIN- depending upon mode of payment chosen," renowned cyber security expert and researcher, Amit Dubey explained India Today Tech.

Before accepting any request on a payment platform, read the text of the message carefully. On most occasions, the text should give away the attention of the fraudsters. If you are not convinced, feel free to decline.

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