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Amid digital payment boom, 42% Indians faced financial fraud, 74% didn’t get money back

Survey by LocalCircles found that 'bank account frauds' topped the list, followed by 'fraud by eCommerce sites'.

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New Delhi: Financial fraud has become a cause of concern as digital payments and online banking become more prevalent, with 42 percent of Indians having been conned, according to a national survey.

An overwhelming 74% of those cheated could not retrieve their money, the poll said.

Nearly half of the 11,065 responses said they or someone in the family had been victims of fraud in the last three years.

The survey by social media community platform LocalCircles tried to gauge how vulnerable citizens were to swindling, now since more consumers store sensitive personal financial information online.

They also attempted to understand whether victims were able to recover the stolen money, and whether there could be a final resolution to this problem.

The survey received around 32,000 responses from 301 districts across India. Sixty-two per cent of respondents were men while 38% were women. Around 43% of respondents were from tier 1 cities, 30% from tier 2 and the rest 27% from tiers  3, 4 and rural districts.

To further understand the nature of financial frauds in the last 3 years, LocalCircles asked respondents to list the platforms they had been cheated on. This question received 9,936 responses, with 29% saying “bank account fraud”, 24% said “fraud by eCommerce sites”, and 21% said “other frauds”.

Furthermore, 18% said “credit/debit card fraud”, 12% said “fraud by mobile apps”, 8% said “ATM card fraud”, and 6% said “insurance fraud”, while the remaining 3% did not respond.

The last question by LocalCircles was: “For the different financial frauds you or someone in your immediate family has experienced in the last 3 years, did you get your money back?”

This question received 10,995 responses, with 10% saying, “Yes, filed a complaint with the platform and got it back”; while another 7% said, “Yes, filed a complaint with authorities and got it back.”

Of the rest, 36% respondents said, “No, the matter is still pending” and 19% said “No, there was nowhere to go”. Another 19% admitted, “No, decided to not file a complaint.” The remaining 9% gave no clear indication and were noncommittal.

Thus, on an aggregate, the survey finds that in the last 3 years, only 17% of those who lost their money to banking frauds were able to get their funds back. The other 74% were left hanging.

If only 17% of those who experienced financial fraud were able to recover their money, it is obvious that even among those who complain, only 1 in 6 are likely to find a resolution — and even then, it may take a long time and numerous follow-ups, the survey indicated.

A previous LocalCircles survey in October 2021 had found that 29% citizens openly shared their financial details, such as their ATM or debit card pin, with close family members, while 4% respondents admitted to sharing it with their domestic and office staff.

Furthermore, the survey also revealed that 33% respondents store their bank account details, credit/debit card pins and ATM passwords, PAN and Aadhaar numbers on email or their computer, and 11% citizens keep the same details on their mobile phone contact list.

Also read: ED attaches assets worth Rs 415 cr in Yes Bank- DHFL fraud case


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