Be Aware of Olx Scams – Tips to Buy Safely on Olx

Be Aware of Olx Scams – Tips to Buy Safely on Olx

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Olx and Quikr are synonymous with India’s biggest marketplaces and online classified sites. These platforms handle thousands of buying and selling transactions each day and the numbers are rising by the day. However, off late Olx has come under the public scanner for advance fee frauds and other online purchase scams.

As a purchaser/seller, you must be alert and cognizant of all aspects of the deal you are undertaking. Here’s all that you need to know about online purchase scams and some tips to buy safely on Olx.

What are Advance Fee Frauds?

Advance Fee Frauds on e-commerce and social media platforms involving the buying/selling of products is on the rise. It involves asking the buyer or seller to make an advance payment for good or services that never materialize!

This is especially a nuisance on online classified sites such as Olx that conducts business outside the platform. Since all communications and negotiations are through phone or email, there is no way the company can keep track of fraudulent transactions.

The common methods used in online purchase scams involving a dubious advance payment are:

  • Tempting and lucrative offers, some are actually too-good-to-be-true
  • Claiming association with reputable and trustworthy professions such as Defense, Doctors, NGOs
  • Emotional blackmailing
  • Demonstrating unnecessary urgency

Once the victim pays, the fraudster either spins a web of lies and extracts more money, or simply disappears! Thus, it is essential that you buy safely on Olx and other such platforms.

The Typical Methods of Fooling Buyers/Sellers in Online Purchase Scams

Call from the Airport

This method of Olx frauds generally involves the sale of a car.

The dubious seller posts a lucrative deal on the site. The buyer is then brainwashed with an utterly fake story. The seller informs the buyer that the car is parked at the airport and requires a customs clearance. Some conmen demand an advance payment on the pretext of road clearances and VIP parking charges. Unless the buyer makes the advance payment, it would not be released to him/her.

Some victims of Olx scams even receive calls from a purported Airport Customs Officer (also part of the Scam), further coaxing them to make the payment. The gullible victims often end up making the payment, which is usually over a lakh. Subsequently, the seller stops responding to the buyer’s calls. It is only then that they realize their mistake!

Online Purchase Scams on OLX involving Army Personnel

Exercise extra caution when involved with a seller/buyer who claims to be working in the Army.

A media house claims nearly 37 people to be allegedly duped in OLX scams involving Army personnel. And the modus operandi was the same in all where the fraudster claimed to belong to the Army or CISF.

Beware of such OLX Frauds!

There is a considerable surge in advance fee frauds on online classified sites using leaked or counterfeited soft copies of ID cards belonging to the Army or CISF personnel. Fraudsters are misusing the ID proofs of police constables and Army personnel to build the buyer’s trust in them.

The ID proofs used in such OLX scams leaked either from OLX itself or from travel agents. Considering the reputable background of the seller, buyers are then fooled into a dubious deal. The innocent buyer falls into the advance fee fraud trap, makes an advance payment, and never receives the product ordered!

Distance Buyer’s Scam

In the distance buyer’s scam, the fraudulent buyer claims to be residing overseas and requests the seller to ship the item to his location. The scammer conveniently assures the seller to compensate him for the shipping charges once he receives the product.

Buyers in distance buyer’s scams quote really high shipping charges on account of residing in a remote location.

A fake representative collects the item and shipping charges from the seller’s doorstep. The seller is handed fake courier details and some even receive a fake email with the details!

All the while, the victim receives communications from the bank and the courier company about the receipt of payments. The victim is then asked to share the courier details for sending him the shipping charges and the item’s payment.

But lo! Once the seller ships the product, the buyer and everyone involved goes missing!

How to Avoid Online Purchase Scams?

Though online classifieds such as Olx and Quikr provide a convenient platform for buying and selling, one must exercise caution. These portals are quite effective when looking at selling and purchasing electronic items, especially smartphone. Some even consider buying used cars on such platforms and end up falling for Olx frauds.

Olx scams are on the rise. Sure. But it is not going to be limited to Olx alone. Scammers are finding newer ways to target people for advance fee frauds. However, here are some handy tips on how to buy safely on Olx.

Tips to Buy Safely on Olx

  • Any demands for an advance to pay duty/shipment/conversion/courier or processing charges are likely to be a trap for an advance fee Please avoid your involvement in such transactions.
  • Exercise extra caution if the seller insists on the advance payment citing urgency, medical or emotional reasons. This is nothing but a trap for Olx scams.
  • Demands for money citing an assurance of fraud/loss recovery are also likely to be scams and advance fee frauds.
  • It is your responsibility as a buyer to have adequate knowledge of who you are dealing with. Conduct an independent validation of the seller’s name, address, website, and phone number. Try finding relevant information about the buyer on the internet.

Tips for Sellers

  • Usually, fraudulent buyers claim to pay more money online and then demand the seller to make the differential payment. DO NOT entertain any such claims unless you have verified the same from your bank and received a payment clearance statement.
  • Verify emails and messages carefully. Fraudsters, these days, are adept at modifying emails and create websites that bear a stark resemblance to a genuine organization.
  • Remember that no courier company or bank shall ever send you a message saying they are holding money. Any message stating that the payment shall be credited once the seller sends them the courier details of the shipped product is definitely a hoax.

Incognito Forensics Foundation – In the League of Mitigating Online Purchase Scams

Incognito Forensics Foundation (IFF Lab) is a private forensic lab headquartered in Bangalore and with PAN India offices. It offers digital and cyber forensic services and consultation to Law Enforcement Agencies, private and public enterprises, and the common public at large. IFF Lab houses a state-of-the-art digital forensics laboratory and is backed by the expertise and knowledge of industry mavens.

While IFF Lab extends support to victims of online purchase scams, it is your duty to be cautious. To stay safe from Olx frauds, step back if the offers sound exceptionally profitable. Avoid communications outside the platform. Abstain from making any form of advance payments in anticipation of engaging in a lucrative deal.

Contact IFF Lab for consultation and investigation of Online Purchase Scams.