By Divya Bhati: Looking to rent a flat online? Beware, as scammers are now targeting home seekers who are searching to rent a flat online. In a recent case, a man from Dehradun who had recently started a job in Noida was looking for a place to rent online. During his search, he contacted a broker online with whom he agreed to sign the rental agreement. However, as soon as he sent the money for the contract, he ended up losing Rs 1.5 lakh in the scam.
According to Times Now, Gaurav Joshi was planning to relocate to Noida due to his job. While searching for a place to rent, he got in touch with a broker named Vikas Gupta, whose contact he found online. Gupta told Joshi about a flat available for rent at Rs 16,500 per month and asked for money for the agreement.
To earn Joshi’s trust, the online broker even sent Rs 5 to Joshi’s bank account along with a refund coupon. Placing his faith in the broker, Joshi scanned the coupon to initiate the payment for the agreement. However, shortly thereafter, he noticed a deduction of Rs 1.15 lakh from his account. Following that, another unauthorised transaction took place, ultimately resulting in the fraudulent broker swindling Joshi out of a total of Rs 1.50 lakh.
The moment Joshi realised he had fallen victim to a scam, he promptly reported the incident to the police station. He filed a complaint with the police, and they promptly registered the case in Sector 113, Noida.
How scammer managed to steal money
While the case is under investigation, the police have advised individuals to remain vigilant against online scams.
As for how the fake broker managed to steal money from the victim in the aforementioned incidents, the victim placed trust in a broker he had contacted online without verifying the information surrounding the individual. He even agreed to make the contracted payment without checking the authenticity of the payment gateway.
Unfortunately, the QR code he received for the transaction was malicious. Upon scanning the code and completing the payment, the scammer successfully gained access to his bank account details. Subsequently, the scammer fraudulently syphoned off Rs 1.5 lakh from his account.
How to stay safe from QR code scam
Here are some tips you should follow to avoid online scams, especially one mentioned above.
- Source verification: Only scan QR codes from trusted sources. If you receive a QR code via email, text, or social media, verify the sender’s identity before scanning it. Double-check with the person or organisation to ensure the QR code is legitimate.
- Inspect the QR code: Before scanning, visually inspect the QR code. Look for any signs of tampering, such as misalignment, pixelation, or added elements. Scammers may create fake QR codes that lead to malicious websites or apps.
- Hover before scanning: Hover your phone’s camera over the QR code without scanning it. This can reveal the destination URL. You can do so by scanning it with an iPhone camera or using Google Lense in Android phones. Make sure it matches the official website of the business or organisation it’s supposed to represent.
- Suspect the channel: Be suspicious of QR codes that are sent to you via text message, email, or social media. Scammers often use these channels to send out QR codes because they are less likely to be blocked by spam filters.
- Enable security features: Many smartphone cameras have built-in security features that can alert you to potentially harmful QR codes. Enable these features in your camera settings.
- Do not share personal information: Be cautious if a QR code asks you to enter personal or sensitive information. Legitimate sources typically don’t request sensitive data through QR codes.