Thu Thuy, an online seller in Nghe An Province, dispatched goods when she received a screenshot of a bank payment transaction from a buyer, but the money never arrived.
Initially she thought the payment had been delayed because it was an inter-bank transfer and a weekend.
Only after contacting her bank did she realize that she had been scammed out of VND6 million (US$255).
“The bank said it could not do anything since all the information in the picture was fake,” she said.
This type of scam has even been pulled off in stores.
Duong Tam, a clothes seller in Hanoi, said one time when her shop was crowded, a customer showed a successful bank transfer screen to a staff member and went away with some goods.
“We noticed the missing amount upon reviewing. On the CCTV we saw the customer had created a fake screenshot using an app.”
The loss was not huge, but she changed the payment process and now waits until the money arrives rather than trust screenshots.
The fake transaction screenshot scam is not new, but becoming increasingly sophisticated and easy.
In the past scammers needed to know how to use photo editing tools to do this, but now many websites, groups and fanpages help them do it.
There is one website that advertises its services as “making transaction bills.”
Users only need to register to make transaction and account balance screenshots for a payment of VND20,000-100,000.
They can choose their desired bank’s interface, type in information like sender and receiver’s names and accounts, amount, transaction details and time, and a screenshot is ready.
Some even go further with screenshots for iOS and Android and fine details like battery capacity, wifi and mobile signals showing at the top of the screen.
Nam Nguyen, an user providing this type of service, said it was originally targeted at online sellers: “They needed to boost their stores’ reputation, and so showed off their many transactions and large bank balances. But sometimes scammers take advantage of this tool.”
With non-cash transactions increasing rapidly, more and more use of fake transaction screenshots by scammers is being reported.
The Thanh Hoa Province police said people cursorily verify transaction confirmation screenshots, and scammers are taking advantage.
Two people were arrested in the province earlier this year for cheating shops.
Recently the Hai Duong police also sounded a warning after busting a similar scam by a duo.
One of the two would pretend to go shopping while the other would stay back and make fake transaction screenshots. Their targets were usually young shop owners since they were almost certain to have bank accounts and accept online payments.
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