QR Code Scam on OLX, Other Online Payment Platforms

Image of QR Code Scam on OLX, Other Online Payment Platforms
QR Code Scam on OLX, Other Online Payment Platforms


Beware of QR Code Scam on OLX and other online payment platforms while selling products.

Other Versions

New OLX Fraud Awareness Video
Scammers are doing this new OLX scam and looting people. Watch this video on how you can save yourself from this kind of scam.

Facts Analysis:

Beware of QR (Quick Response) Code Scam on OLX and other online payment platforms. Fraudsters are targeting gullible users selling products online in OLX or other platforms. They are misusing the QR code, a payment feature in some UPI apps like Google Pay and also PhonePe, Paytm among others.

About the QR Code Scam on OLX

On 25th August 2020, social media user Rohit R Gaba posted a video on YouTube explaining how one such scam attempt took place with him. After posting an advertisement for selling his Camera on OLX, one person contacts him as interested buyer pretending he’s an Army officer. He also sends Rohit an (fake) ID of army person – claiming he likes the camera and is willing to buy without seeing it or negotiating for the price. Then in the name of an advance amount, he says he will message a QR code telling the seller to scan it and receive the money in his account. Note, such fraudsters usually share the QR code over WhatsApp, Email or other online platforms.

Over the phone conversation, the ‘Army officer’ tries to convince he is safe and not associated with any fraud or scam because he is not asking for any PIN or OTP. When the seller Rohit mentions he wants to meet him in person, the scammer says he is out of station and cannot meet. When the concerned seller mentions why he can’t transfer money to his bank account directly, he says adding account, waiting for activation and then sending money later is a lengthy process.

How the Scam Works

In the QR code scam, fraudsters pretending as buyers initially send small money as token amount ‘ensuring’ they are not scammers. Then they send another QR code for rest of the high payment, which is when the unsuspecting seller gets scammed – and loses money from his account. They in fact send a payment request link instead of a payment receive link, and keep the seller distracted in call conversation. Users unaware of the scam go on to scan the QR code and enter their PIN, thinking they will receive the payment. Once the money is stolen in this way, the caller switches off his mobile phone and goes unreachable thereafter.

Fraudsters are scamming innocent people and stealing their hard-earned money. The scammer mentioned above, pretending as Army person, accepts he loots around 5-6 lakh rupees per month. In order to make people aware of the new type of fraud on OLX, Rohit Gaba recorded the conversation and shared it on social media. After the revelation during conversation, the scamster even threatens Rohit Gaba of hacking his phone and stealing money.

Various QR Code Scams on the Rise

Scamsters have found some such innovative methods to trick gullible consumers, faking the popular Quick Response (QR) Codes to extract money fraudulently. There’s sudden increase in such scams since late 2019. Many reports of these incidents appear from various parts of India, where people lose money within seconds to unknown criminals. OLX Help Center also explained about the QR Code Scams on their website. OLX urged users never to scan any QR code or enter UPI PIN to receive payments from other users. The company warned the fraudster will create a QR code with a high amount and will share it through WhatsApp, Email or other platforms.

Note, the QR code scam takes place not just on OLX, but also on other online sale platforms. Cyber fraudsters are also cheating shopkeepers in the guise of purchasing different products in bulk from them, and only end up looting them heavily. In a shocking way, criminals in some countries generated QR code stickers through fake IDs and cell phone numbers. Then they went around shops or outlets replacing the original QR codes with their stickers and swindled money without the knowledge of the business owners.

On the other hand, there’s another mode of scam using QR code. Cyber expert Sankarraj Subramanian explains the same. When a victim tries to access QR code for payment, it takes him to a fake payment gateway page, where victim needs to enter his card details. Once that is done, attacker has the access to victim’s crucial information stored in a mobile phone. In other words, by scanning the QR code, the victims provide the scammers with the login credentials to their banking environment. This way, the fraudsters can easily wipe off the bank balance of the unsuspecting user. Cyberabad police also warned citizens about such frauds.

To Conclude

So, do not use QR code scan method in case of payments with unknown people and uncredible sources. Remember, you need to scan QR code only to make payments. And when you are using it, pay close attention to the details shown to you before confirming the payment. Also, do not share your card number, expiry date, PIN, OTP etc. with anyone.

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Prashanth Damarla