Some frauds happen in a matter of minutes, before you could intervene - even if you are physically present with the victim and are passively listening to what is going on. This is one of them.
Essentially, we were trying to book a hotel in Kolhapur. I am not so much into booking by directly calling the hotel - I generally use either Oyo or other hotel booking site. But my cousin wanted to book by Googling and directly calling the hotel. So I became passive to the discussion. By the time I entered actively in discussion - something had already clicked me that a fraud is in work - the guy on the other end was asking to punch in "12999" as the merchant code in place on amount and provide UPI pin - thankfully that transaction didn't happen and I could intervene and stop.
But before that already 1500 had be transferred to the fraudsters account as the "booking amount".
So here is how the fraudster (or probably a gang of fraudsters) worked.
They post google review picture with morphed image that has a phone number:
I have reported this fraud on https://cybercrime.gov.in/ (you should too if you come across any such). I am not sure how to contact Google to notify it about this fraud. But hoping that the cyber crime investigations can be made to on-cover this obvious fraud.
I also plan to volunteer at https://cybercrime.gov.in/ as I really feel the need for it for a safer digital society.