Gurgaon: Alok Nath, a resident of Islampur, was looking for a second-hand motorcycle. He came across an advertisement on online marketplace OLX of a bike on sale for Rs 32,000. The owner, Vikas Patel, agreed to sell it for Rs 23,000.
Over the next few days, Alok was made to pay Rs 45,000 through Paytm in several transactions, but no bike was delivered. He later realised he had been duped.
Alok isn’t the only one cheated thus; on an average, two people are duped through OLX and another four frauds are committed through Paytm every day in Gurgaon, according to police. A total of 56 FIRs related to fraud via Paytm and 52 related to fraud via OLX were registered in the city in June alone.
A senior police officer said India follows the system of card payment and payment through mobile wallets, but laws to safeguard such payments haven’t been created, unlike in countries like the US, which has a system of ‘chargeback’ under which the payment wallet through which fraud is committed is responsible for tracking the money trail. “In India, payment wallet companies are not accountable. Fraudsters take advantage of such loopholes. They route money through multiple gateways, leaving no trace of transactions,” the officer said.
DCP Chandar Mohan said they receive several complaints related to online fraud on OLX and Paytm daily. “The fraudsters keep on coming with new ways to cheat people. From this year, we’ve started documenting cases of fraud related to OLX and Paytm separately,” he said.
When contacted, OLX claimed to have a threefold strategy to deal with cyber frauds. “OLX’s role in connection with cybercrime is threefold. One — to prevent fraudsters from entering the platform and two — educating users on how to transact safely on the platform. And finally, OLX reacts swiftly to frauds that have taken place, providing users with an effective means to report fraud and for law enforcement agencies to expedite their information request,” a spokesperson said.
Paytm also claimed it is working aggressively on fraud prevention. “Our app alerts users about ‘rogue screen sharing apps’ installed on their devices, which can trigger fraudulent transactions, and advise them to uninstall such apps. We have been collaborating closely with police cyber cells across the country. Paytm also filed a petition in Delhi high court, urging telcos to implement norms restricting unsolicited commercial communication so that fraudsters can’t send fraudulent SMSes to our customers. We’ve also submitted details of over 3,500 fraudulent numbers to the authorities,” a spokesperson for Paytm told TOI.