Have you recently received an email, call, SMS, WhatsApp message, or any other social media message claiming to provide unbelievable discounts and offers from any e-commerce website? Be warned that these messages are not sent by official website channels, but by fraudsters and scammers who intend to deceive you. If you are not careful, you may be at the receiving end of fraud.
How can you identify, if it’s fake?
The content of the fraudulent messages/calls sent by these individuals or agencies may include references to tempting deals, discounts and offers on e-commerce websites. These messages may be designed to closely resemblee-commerce website’s official trademarks including logos, typefaces and brand colors. Some of the fake websites may also have the word ‘Website Name’ in the URL or logo.
These websites may have names and internet addresses (URLs) like flipkart.dhamaka-offers.com, flipkart-bigbillion-sale.com among others. Such websites pretend to be associated with e-commerce websites by using similar-looking and similar-sounding names. However, they are not authorized by any e-commerce website.
Social Media Platforms:
Fraudsters may try to send you messages over familiar messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook etc. Many customers have reported receiving messages similar to these:
- You are asked to provide personal details such as name, mobile number, address, banking details, etc.
- You are asked to share these fraudulent messages with other individuals or groups in your Contacts list to win lucrative prizes.
- You are offered products at unbelievable and very lucrative prices (e.g. a 32 GB pen drive for ₹25).
- You are lured to a website that appears to be very similar to the original e-commerce websites.
- You are asked to make payments through online wallets, bank transfer, or other means for logistics or taxes to avail a free gift.
Fake calls or SMS:
Sometimes, customers may receive calls from unknown numbers. The callers may speak English, Hindi or any other language. They may lure you with information that you have won free gifts or that your mobile number has been selected through a lucky draw, etc. In order to avail these gifts, you will be asked to reveal secret and sensitive personal financial information or access credentials such your bank account numbers, electronic wallet details, credit/debit card information, CVV, PIN or OTP.
Phishing (Fake Emails)
Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details for malicious reasons by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing emails are sent by fraudsters. The emails may ask you to visit malicious links through which your personal and/or financial information can be obtained and be used without your consent to carry out fraudulent transactions.
Online scams of this type reach out to customers, asking them to play games such as ‘Spin the Wheel,’ which promise free gifts, cash prizes, and other tempting bait. The players are often asked to share the game with their contacts to be able to avail the prize, which, of course, never materializes.
Where can you get reliable information about the Offers, Deals and Discounts?
- Official website of the e-commerce websites.
- Official social media page of the e-commerce websites.
- Official App of the e-commerce websites.
- By contacting the customer care of the respective e-commerce website via e-mail or Toll-free numbers.