Here’s how scammers are using fake Flipkart websites and Paytm to dupe people

  • Scammers on the internet use identical logos and website layouts of established e-commerce platforms to cheat people.

  • They ask for advance payment through Paytm.

  • Flipkart is aware and has been working on taking legal action against such websites.

  • Today, Snapdeal has secured a Delhi High Court order that has led to nearly fraudulent 1200 links being removed from Twitter.
Tech expert Kartic Rakhra’s twenty something attendant came to him with a simple problem – Flipkart was insisting that he pays only through Paytm.

Curious, Rakhra decided to look into it only to see that it was a fake site. The elaborate scam was using fake Flipkart logos to sell products like phones and electronics with deep discounts. And, they are demanding an advance via Paytm.

Through ads on UC Browser, scammers were offering Samsung, Redmi and Oppo smartphones for as low as ₹1,599 calling them ‘deals of the day’. For India’s rural consumers, it might come across as an attractive deal – only that they are asked to pay the amount through Paytm in advance.

https://twitter.com/karticrakhra/status/1218814433364865026?s=19


Many victims of the scam

Rakhra pointed out that while Paytm issues a warning against making any advance payments, it does so in English which many ‘Bharat’ users fail to understand.

“These ads are targeted at people who are new to the internet economy. So these are the people who think that having an ad on television legitimises the brand. When I told my grandfather's attendant, he put it out as a WhatsApp status that this is a scam and several others replied too that they have been scammed like that,” said Rakhra, who works as the product head at Blockchain powered company Somish Labs.

Discounts and deals have been the not-so-secret sauce for Indian e-commerce sites. That’s exactly what fake sites use to lure people.

Flipkart initiates a takedown

Flipkart too is aware of the problem and has been working on. It also published a blog in July 2018 to spread awareness.

“We have a stringent process to check for fake and phishing sites. At Flipkart, a large part of our efforts are directed towards ensuring our customers are educated and well-informed. We have a robust continuous process in place to monitor, identify and take legal action against fake/lookalike domains, phishing sites and fraudulent websites, apps and social media pages that attempt to bring disrepute to Flipkart by impersonating our brand and thereby cheating and defrauding our customers and the public at large,” said a Flipkart spokesperson.

Within Flipkart, the company also has a Brand Protection Council which assesses, monitors, reports and takes legal action against such fraudulent websites. “In the past year, we have reported and taken down a number of such fraudulent online sites,” said the spokesperson.

E-commerce sites in India have often been subject to fraudulent links and scams where people misuse their name.

Today, India’s third largest e-commerce player Snapdeal has secured a Delhi High Court order that has led to nearly fraudulent 1200 links being removed from Twitter. These entities were faking Snapdeal.

“These were in violation of the copyright and registered trademarks of Snapdeal and also sought to represent that they are the official twitter handles of Snapdeal. The court’s interim order came in a suit filed by Snapdeal. In the suit, Snapdeal has also impeded various unidentified defendants who are the owners of the aforesaid URLs/links,” said Snapdeal.

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