Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is one of the budding modes of digital payment and is extremely easy to ease. After the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, literally, everything in the world went online. Even before that, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, repeatedly said that he wanted to promote a cashless society. This is why a number of digital transaction methods including UPI were adopted.
However, this mode of payment might become dangerous if not used cautiously. This is due to the fact that the number of UPI fraud cases in India and even elsewhere have been increasing. To deter you from getting trapped, we have provided a guide to be safe from such fraud. This article will focus on what UPI fraud is about and the tactics these fraudsters use. In addition, guidelines for being safe will also be discussed.
What Is UPI Fraud?
UPI is one of the most important elements when digital transactions and digitisation are considered. Moreover, the number of UPI transactions in India has touched an all-time high recently. This is because of the fact that more and more people are preferring this mode of payment as it is one of the most convenient and instant ways of digital payments. But with the popularity that it has gained, comes the possibility of UPI scams, UPI fraud, and even hacking. Several Paytm UPI frauds complaints and even GPay scams have been recorded.
Operating any UPI transaction just needs a four-digit passcode. It can be a very easy thing to crack from the perspective of a scammer. They can use tactics, tricks, and technology to intrude into your privacy and get hold of the essential details that are saved on your phone. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also warned against the same many times. RBI guidelines for UPI frauds in banks that were released recently mentioned some common types of UPI fraud that people need to know. Therefore, the next section will discuss those.
Types Of Such Scams In RBI Guidelines For UPI Frauds In Banks
The RBI guidelines for UPI frauds in banks mention the following types of UPI fraud activities.
- Phishing: It is actually the most common way in which UPI fraud activities are conducted. The fraudster will send in an email with bogus information and will pose as a bank representative or e-wallet provider. The recipient would be asked for confidential details, which once revealed, are used to extract money from the victim’s account.
- Vishing: It is similar to phishing but the mode of contacting the target is different. Here, the scammer will call the victim on the phone and will talk like an executive from a bank or e-wallet provider to extract confidential information.
- Misusing Collect Request Feature: UPI payment apps often avail a collect request feature that can be initiated to ask a person to pay their dues. This feature can be misused as fraudsters can send a fake request with text like “Enter Your UPI Pin To Receive Rewards.”
- Acquiring Remote Access: The scammer can attract UPI users to download an app (such as AnyDesk) that would provide them with remote access to the person’s phone or device. Through this, they would be able to know any information they like.
- Fake Numbers On Search Engines: Fraudsters can put up malicious phone numbers of banks or e-wallet providers on search engines like Google and Yahoo! When people call on these numbers, they might ask for bank details or other information.
How Are UPI Scams Generally Executed?
UPI fraud can be conducted in many ways but in recent times an exact pattern of these scams has been identified. The steps that hackers and fraudsters follow for UPI frauds in India and other regions as well have been listed below.
- Step 1: The thing starts with a random phone call. Calling is used to grab the listener’s attention better than texting.
- Step 2: They ask questions for verification like phone number and date of birth to sound legit.
- Step 3: Fraudsters use technical issues in the bank’s servers to talk to their targets. They tell them false information saying they need to reveal personal information to solve the technical difficulties.
- Step 4: After the victim is convinced, they are asked to install applications like Anydesk or ScreenShare.
- Step 5: While downloading such apps, it asks for permission and once it is granted, anything on your phone can be accessed. Thus, hackers ask you to do so.
- Step 6: The fraudster will then ask for a 9-digit OTP generated on your phone. Once that is told to them, all your personal data is in their hands.
- Step 7: After the app installed for remote control of the device is granted with all required permissions, the hacker starts stealing passcodes and passwords. Then they carry out UPI transactions as and when they like.
How To Prevent Such Frauds From Affecting You?
We have curated nine points that should be followed if you want to be safe from UPI fraud. These can be beneficial in reducing the number of UPI frauds in India.
- Adhere To Security Protocols Regarding UPI: It is important that you adhere to the security protocols that are necessary for UPI. Never share your passcode with strangers and secure the app with biometric protection. Several Paytm UPI frauds complaints were registered as people did not follow this point.
- Avoid Being In Contact With Scammers: It sounds ambiguous but you need to stay away from fraudsters to be safe from UPI fraud. Banks would never call you asking for personal details, that is indeed a red flag, so beware of that.
- Be Attentive To Spam Alerts On UPI Apps: Generally, if an unfamiliar transaction is noticed by your UPI app, it will warn you. Take those signals seriously. Paytm UPI frauds complaints increased, thereafter, they started warning people.
- Beware Of Malicious Apps: UPI fraud can be conducted using malicious apps. So, beware before installing any app or software that might seem suspicious to you.
- Check Your Account Balances Often: One should keep a check of their account balances often so that they can know of any discrepancies in advance. Apps like GPay, Paytm, and MobiKwik, all provide an instant option to check balances.
- Don’t Use Open Wi-Fi: Connecting to open wi-fi networks might be hazardous for you as it might enable the hacker to get your personal details from the device connected. One should in every case check the authenticity of the network.
- Keep A Record Of Bank Notifications: You should keep track of the bank notifications as they are authentic in nature and convey essential information. This way you would know if any funds were deducted unprecedentedly.
- Open Emails Cautiously: It is essential that you don’t open emails without checking their authenticity. This way you can prevent phishing at least.
- Stay Vigilant While Accepting Payment Requests: The feature of payment requests is often misused by hackers. Therefore, think twice before making a payment to such a request.
An Alert Finishing!
UPI fraud cases have been becoming more common. Therefore, it is necessary that people stay alert to prevent such scams from affecting them. For this, people need to know about the ways UPI frauds in India and elsewhere take place. The most common methods are phishing, vishing, misuse of the payment request feature, etc. The ways and methods that would deter these things from happening to them have been noted earlier in the article. So, go through the points carefully and remember them the next time you consider making UPI transactions. Also, refer this article to people who are not aware of the information stated here.