I am an engineering student based in Chennai, who is fond of books authored by international authors and publications.
Recently, I had to make an international transfer to the seller of a book in the US via Skrill, a digital wallet provider that enables online payments and money transfers. While I could have used a local exchanger who could convert INR to USD, I found a more cost efficient website newpaisaxchanger.in. The rate locally was Rs 82 per US dollar, but the website rate was Rs 76/dollar.
Besides the price, this website was the top search result on Google for ‘best Skrill exchangers in India’. I was lured by the offer of lower exchange rates and duped of Rs 7,600.
Events of 19 January: How I Was Duped
It started when I contacted the given WhatsApp number on their website –+918448242059 – and asked for the exchange rate. I needed $50, so I sent Rs 3,800 to the account number given to me by the executive.
I was told to wait for 10 minutes, after which he said, ”Sir, our minimum transaction is 100 dollars only. So, please send Rs 3,800 again.” My suspicions rose at this point.
I sent a mail to the email ID given on the website to report payment issues. I got the same reply which I got from the exchanger on WhatsApp. I realised it was the same person communicating on both mediums.
I thought that if I transfer Rs 3,800 again, I will be sent $100 in my Skrill wallet. So, I transferred the amount, this time in an another account.
There was no response for another 45 minutes. I called him and asked him about the transaction, to which he replied, ”Sir, we have updated the price now, so you have to send me Rs 12,000 more.”
I realised that I had been scammed. On further queries, his only response was to ask for more money. I kept asking for the currency and even threatened a police complaint, but after a point my number was blocked on WhatsApp by him.
The following day, a stranger messaged on my WhatsApp number from NR Exchangers, enquiring if I still wanted to make a Skrill exchange.
I later figured that he was the same person trying to cheat me again. He blocked me on that number as well.
Some research about such scams and local exchangers taught me that local exchangers send US dollars in digital wallets that are used for Forex trading using a broker.
In Forex, the minimum deposit amount required is $100 and if people choose the wrong exchanger like I did, the scam will be on a greater scale, as in India, there are almost 3 million Forex traders.
Certified websites like Western Union have high exchange rates which customers in need of a few dollars may never choose. If they find an exchanger giving low rates, customers usually go to them and that’s how they get scammed.
I hope my story make others aware. I lost Rs 7,600 and I explained everything to my parents who sympathised with me. I hope local exchangers pay for this and all other people that were cheated also get back their money. I eventually filed an official police complaint on 19 January.
What is most concerning is that this fraud website is among the top search results on Google. This gives it credibility and many may fall for it. Perhaps, Google should review all other related sites and their credibility. I have come across Telegram groups for Skrill exchangers in which plenty of cases like mine were reported.
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