Trust & Safety
New fraud alert: Online Trading Scam
When stock exchanges began in the 1850s with stockbrokers trading under a Banyan tree opposite to the Town Hall of Bombay, little did they know that online trading would be a chosen investment avenue for over 17% Indian households over a century and a half later in 2023.*
The digital wave has certainly made banking, transacting, and investing easier over time but it comes with it a set of risks. Scamsters find opportunity in online transactions and come up with ingenious ways to scam innocents. In our effort to help people avoid being lured into scams, we share information about the latest scam trends. In this blog, we shed light on Online Trading Scams.
What is an Online Trading Scam?
An online trading scam happens when a scamster acts as a broker for a supposed investment based on false information or trick people into trading on a fake website. The investment can be in the form of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, assets, etc.
How do scamsters operate?
Scamsters frequently offer investors implausible profits with little to no risk. The intention is to instill in you a fear of losing out on a chance that others are taking advantage of. Scammers of this kind usually advertise themselves online through social media and websites that mimic authentic, authorized trading platforms or investment businesses. The perpetrators of these scams frequently imply that they are exempt from local or national financial laws. They may also withhold funds and try to scam you by demanding payments for fake taxation, fees, or other charges.
Most trading scams start on social media or through messaging applications. If you receive a call from someone out of the blue or if you meet someone online who introduces you to a trading website you’ve never heard of, it is highly likely that it is a scam. You will lose any money you send to scam trading websites, regardless of how much money they promise you can make, how simple and risk-free they say it will be. In addition to searching social media and messaging applications for potential victims, the following five indicators indicate that a possible trading scam:
- Fraud brokers excessively promote the idea of making tiny investments to reap implausible profits.
- As profits rise and the individual wishes to withdraw money, the purported earnings are made to seem inaccessible. When answers are sought, unreasonable excuses are made in the name of taxes and commissions.
- With time, the victim realises that no amount of taxes and commissions grant access to withdrawals, proving that the scamster has no intention of returning money.
- Savvy fraudsters never stop requesting more money, coming up with creative justifications and the promise of withdrawals in the near future.
- Scammers are not responsive, always inaccessible and after extracting a considerable amount of money, stop answering altogether.
It is possible to identify an online trading scam by keeping an eye out for a few telltale signs.
How to report if you are a victim of a Trading Scam
If you suspect that you have fallen victim to a trading scam, it’s crucial to take immediate action to minimize potential damage and prevent further losses. Here are the steps you should consider taking:
- PhonePe app: Go to the Help section and raise an issue under ‘Others’. Select ‘Account Security & Reporting Fraudulent Activity’ and choose the most appropriate option to report the incident.
- PhonePe Customer Care Number: You can call PhonePe customer care on 80–68727374/022–68727374 to raise an issue, post which a customer care agent will raise a ticket and help with your issue.
- Webform submission: You can also raise a ticket using PhonePe’s webform, https://support.phonepe.com/
- Social media: You can report fraudulent incidents via PhonePe’s social media handles
- Twitter — https://twitter.com/PhonePeSupport
- Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/OfficialPhonePe
- Grievance: To report a grievance on an existing complaint, you can login to https://grievance.phonepe.com/ and share the ticket ID previously raised.
- Cyber cell: Lastly, you can report fraud complaints at the nearest Cyber Crime cell or register a complaint online at https://www.cybercrime.gov.in/ or contact the Cyber Crime Cell helpline at 1930.
Important reminder — PhonePe never asks for confidential or personal details. Ignore all mails claiming to be from PhonePe if they are not from the phonepe.com domain. If you suspect fraud, please contact the authorities immediately.