Hyderabad: Cyber crime cell issues advisory to check QR code frauds

Hyderabad: A resident of Kukatpally uploaded photos of a 5-seater sofa set for sale on the OLX website for Rs. 23,500 and received a call from a person who said that he is interested in purchase the Sofa set and sent a QR code and asked to scan the QR code for the payment in advance.

On believing his words, the complainant scanned the QR code for Rs. 1 and got Rs. 2 to her bank account. As such, she scanned various codes multiple times and lost an amount of Rs. 99,500 has been deducted from her bank account.

With a phenomenal shift to remote work, online fraudsters find different ways to loot innocent people. The Cyber Crime Cell of Cyberabad Police Commissionerate in the first month of the new year 2021 has received around 173 complaints from victims wherein they are losing their hard-earned money after scanning the QR codes sent by the fraudsters on the pretext of sending the amount to them.

According to a Cyber Crime Cell officer, these cyber fraudsters hailing from Rajasthan are posting fake advertisements on the internet and also on various social media platforms on the pretext of selling or purchasing used goods and cheating the innocent people in one way or the other.

Few QR Code frauds reported in the second week of January 2021, complaints lodged with Cyber Crime Cell. In another case, a complainant lost her Rs. 57000 by scanning the QR Codes shared by the fraudster intending to purchase her dressing table which she posted on OLX website.

Most of the QR code frauds are happening in cases of purchasing the goods, i.e., whenever the victim posts an ad to sell some goods on Olx, the fraudster contacts him/her over chat and after exchanging the contact numbers.

Fraudsters make the victim believe that he is ready to purchase the goods and without even negotiating the price, he will ask the victim to scan the QR code sent by him so that they will receive the money into their account. By believing this, the victims innocently scan the QR codes sent by the fraudsters presuming that they will receive the money into their account but they lose money after scanning the codes, stated the Cyber Crime Cell officer.

To avoid and to prevent such frauds, the Cyber Crime Cell issued an advisory:

  • Read the instructions notified by the platform before proceeding further to pay/receive the amount and do not fall into the trap of the fraudsters.
  • Be informed that there is no need to enter the UPI PIN while receiving the amount through QR Code scanning. PIN needs to be entered while paying the amount only.
  • Do not fall prey just by reading the remarks column of the QR code screen as the fraudsters mention the remarks as ‘paying XXXX amount’, etc… to make you believe.
  • Do not believe in the ads posted on Olx platform just by looking at the ad and inspect the goods in person before buying.
  • Be informed that most of the fraudsters are posting ads with the pictures of Army officers or any other uniformed forces to make you believe.

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