Unified Payments Interface or UPI was introduced with the aim of merging several banking features into a single mobile application providing seamless fund routing and merchant payments. It is one of the best and most useful financial apps around. The goal was to make digital payments easier for everyone. Now, with the country under a lockdown and most people having to stay indoors, digital transactions have become the preferred method of payments.
The problem is that even this mode of transaction has been targeted by fraudsters to steal customers’ money with several such cases emerging in recent months. Hackers are taking unauthorized access of innocent people’s mobile devices to carry out fraudulent transactions via UPI using third party apps on smartphones.
The most common type of UPI fraud is where customers are called and asked for UPI PIN instead of ID to complete a transaction. In this case, fraudsters pose as e-commerce executives. There have been other instances where fraudsters have posed as bank representatives and asked customers to download a third-party app to steal their money.
They also conduct UPI frauds by posing as representatives from the victim’s bank, telecom service provider, or the RBI on call, asking them to download a third-party app for “verification purposes”.
How to stay safe?
Most UPI frauds are possible due to the lack of awareness and proper understanding of how this new-age payments system operates. As a result, customers are easily fooled into taking actions that compromise their information security and leaves them vulnerable to financial fraud.
To stay safe, customers should avoid sharing confidential details such as OTPs with suspicious callers claiming to be the representative of a service provider or bank. Care must also be taken to verify the identity of the person/business that you are transacting with over an online platform, especially when a large amount of money is involved.