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Tell-Tale Signs of Advance Payment Scam

  • Highlights: 

  • Advance payment frauds involve asking victims for a small sum of money to claim big rewards
  • Intimidating communication offers too good to be true and pressure tactics are clear giveaways of this fraud type

Today’s world is digitally connected and is fittingly termed an ‘online world’. While this has its own convenience and ease, it has also given rise to frauds and scams owing to the speed and anonymity of social media, e-mail, and the web as a whole.

Multiple types of cyber frauds are being committed these days and a common way to be duped online is through the advance payment scam. 

What is the advance payment scam?

The advance payment scam is when a scammer tricks the victims into paying them money in advance in return for multiple opportunities like a service, goods, loans etc. It could be for a lottery, a service, goods, a guaranteed employment opportunity, a loan, and more.

The advance fee loan scam is quite common and falls under this scam blanket. Debt-ridden people are identified and offered ‘guaranteed loans’ with front processing fees. These callers impersonate employees of reputed lending institutions such as Bajaj Finserv and promise a loan, regardless of the person’s credit history for an advance fee.

In all the scenarios, once the supposed ‘application fees’ or ‘processing fees’ are transferred, the scammer is nowhere to be found. You will never receive that large sum of money, that lottery money, the job, or the loan that was promised to you. 

Tell-tale Signs of an Advance Payment Scam

Any scheme that involves transferring or depositing money in advance for a greater benefit post that, should raise a red flag. Common giveaways of this scam are:

Guaranteed Job Opportunities – Fraudsters offer lucrative jobs that require an upfront payment – they pretend to be recruitment consultants or the HR from the actual company. Please note that no ethical operational firm in India can guarantee a job just by paying a sum. Before being hired, multiple rounds of interviews and evaluations are conducted.

Winning a lottery or prize - Here, you receive a communication that you have won a lottery, a free trip for two, or received an inheritance. However, to claim either, you will be required to transfer a small sum of money before you can get a hold of your winnings.

Official Impersonation Frauds – Impostors pretend to be from the law enforcement team or tax department and claim that you are in trouble for withholding taxes or pending fines. They ask you to pay back money to avert being prosecuted or being arrested.

Advance-Fee Loan Scam - The modus operandi of the advance fee loan scam involves impostors who call you and guarantee a credit no matter what your credit history is. They gain confidence by confirming a few personal details that they have gathered from various social profiles of the victim and information on the internet. They use terms like ‘past not a problem’, ‘hassle-free, ‘no documentation required’, ‘guaranteed loan’ etc., and just make you believe that you deserve that loan.
Legitimate lenders always check your CIBIL score, require ID proof and documents, and have eligibility criteria before disbursing a loan. If there is a processing fee, it is communicated to you and adjusted in your repayment schedule. Easy loan for an advance fee for ‘processing’ or ‘paperwork’ is a clear sign of an advance fee loan scam.
If you are being rushed and pressured into taking action and the offer being made is too good to be true – you are being conned. Report the matter immediately!

Urgency tactics used to conduct this scam

  • First-come first-serve, limited employment opportunities

  • You are under investigation

  • Your account has been suspended or blocked

  • You can only get the loan if you transfer the processing fee within 24 hours

  • Prize or lottery money will expire by the end of the day

When you are being rushed, take a step back and investigate the matter thoroughly. 

What to do if you have been scammed online and paid up?

If you have lost your money to an advance payment scam or advance-fee loan scam or have received any unsolicited and unverified communication, report it at www.cybercrime.gov.in or call the national helpline number at 155260.
By reporting these scammers, you can assist law enforcement to curb their activities and help others stay alert and exercise caution.
Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry. Savdhaan Rahein, Safe Rahein!!

Savdhaan Rahein. Safe Rahein.

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