Fraud Alert: UC Browser Ads For Realme, Redmi Phones At Rs 1599 Luring Shoppers Into Fake Flipkart, Paytm Websites
Update: UC Browser has acknowledged this issue, and has issued a statement, stating that they are taking action against this scam.
They said, “We have removed the mentioned Ad from our platform on an immediate basis and launched an internal review of the advertising mechanism that led to this. User experience and benefit remains our top priority”
How Did This Happen?
The frequent users of Walmart owned Flipkart know that it does not support Paytm as a payment method so far.
It raised curiosity for Rakhra and he decided to look into it only to see that it was a fake site.
Rakhra found that 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.
What Is This Scam?
As per the reports, 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’.
It might come across as an attractive deal for India’s rural consumers, the only change is that they are asked to pay the amount through Paytm in advance.
What Does Paytm Say?
Rakhra also pointed out that while Paytm issues a warning against making any advance payments, it does so in English which many Indian people fail to understand.
Rakhra said “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 legitimizes 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,”.
He is working as the product head at Blockchain-powered company Somish Labs.
As we all know, discounts and deals have been the not-so-secret sauce for Indian e-commerce sites which these fake sites are using to lure people.
What Does Flipkart Say About This Scam?
According to Flipkart they too are aware of the problem and have been working on it. They also published a blog in July 2018 to spread awareness.
Spokesperson for Flipkart said“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 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,”.
Not only that, within Flipkart, the company also has a Brand Protection Council which assesses, monitors, reports and takes legal action against such fraudulent websites.
He said, “In the past year, we have reported and taken down a number of such fraudulent online sites,”.
In India, E-commerce sites have often been subject to fraudulent links and scams where people misuse their name.
What To Expect In The Future?
On 20 Jan 2020, 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 who were faking Snapdeal.
Snapdeal said “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,”.