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There is no end to the number of ways fraudsters can dupe you out of your money if you're not careful.

Hyderabad-based Sejuti Baral got a nasty surprise when an attempt to sell her old phone online ended in her losing almost six months' worth of savings. "I put my old one up for sale on an e-commerce website.

Someone from Visakhapatnam bought it and transferred the money through Google Pay, and all I had to do was send the parcel to the given address," said the 30-year-old learning designer. Baral called a local DTDC courier service number she found listed online. The person on the line told her he would call up from another number. He then sent her a link to a Google form from the new number and asked her to fill in her details to request the pick-up.

"I opened the form and entered my name and UPI ID. He asked me to enter the PIN, and clarified that it was part of the procedure. Unlike other payment gateways where the numbers turn into dots or asterisks as you type, the PIN was showing up on the form. I got suspicious and deleted the PIN immediately, but by then it was too late," she said.

Baral's State Bank of India account, which was linked to Google Pay, saw eight transactions of Rs 9,999 each and one of Rs 8,000, in quick succession. Baral lost about Rs 88,000 within minutes or so. "I tried blocking my SBI account when I realized that this was an incident of fraud, but I couldn't log into my account. The pop-up said it was a duplicate entry, which meant they were already accessing my account. All I could do was look at my screen helplessly as notifications of debit transactions kept popping up," she said.

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December 2019