- Date : 29/06/2023
- Read: 4 mins
Impersonation, phishing, OTP/PIN sharing and collect requests are some of the ways in which scammers operate in the digital age. However, with a few common-sense measures, you will be able to stay one-step-ahead, always.
Ever since the introduction of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in 2016, its adoption has only gone from strength to strength. According to data by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the platform processed over 6.78 billion transactions to the tune of INR 11.16 trillion in September, 2022.
However, the shift to the digital payments ecosystem has also opened new avenues for potential frauds. As a much-used and convenient mode of payment, it’s easy to get complacent about the risks involved when dealing with UPI transactions.
Also read: What Is UPI And How Does It Work?
Here are a few types of frauds common with UPI transactions:
- Impersonation - People may impersonate genuine sellers online, and provide their numbers for you to place an order. On placing the order, you may be asked to complete a partial or full payment of the order amount, following which there’s no delivery of the goods.
- Phishing - You may encounter a payment link that closely resembles the original URL of the merchant you are procuring from. This link would take you to the UPI app, wherein on entering the PIN, money is debited from the victim’s account.
- Screen mirroring - Sometimes unsuspecting victims are called by scammers posing as customer care representatives of real, popular companies on the pretense of updating customer details, or pending payment, prompting the victim to download third-party apps that share the person’s screen with the fraudster. Through these apps, the fraudster can get access to the victim’s device and transfer money to themselves using their victims’ credentials.
- OTP, UPI PIN - The classic case of revealing your OTP or UPI PIN to callers on the phone who absolutely need the information in order to help you.
- Money in account with collect request - Often scammers will call the victim saying they’ve won a lottery or sweepstakes competition for which money needs to be deposited in their account. They will ask for the victim’s bank account details, and use the ‘collect request’ feature in UPI apps to trigger the UPI PIN entry, following which money will be transferred out of the account.
While UPI transactions are generally safe, and convenient, you must be alert when making these transactions.
Here are a few tips to stay safe from any UPI frauds.
- No PIN required to receive money
You do not have to enter your PIN anywhere if you are going to be receiving money. Neither do you have to enter an OTP to receive money. Both of these are only required when you’re sending money.
- Don’t share UPI PIN
Do not reveal your UPI PIN to anybody. No genuine bank official, or customer care representative is going to ask you for your UPI PIN under any circumstances. Keep this information with you, preferably in your mind, and not written anywhere.
- Reject unknown collect request
Do not accept any collect request from unknown people/merchants, even if you get a follow-up call from the alleged merchant.
- Verify details of the beneficiary
When making a UPI payment via the QR code or UPI ID, always verify the details of the recipient. Confirm the name of the account, and send a test amount of INR 1 if needed, before sending the total amount.
- Change UPI PIN
Change your UPI PIN at regular intervals. The four-digit numbers are often numbers that are significant for people, making it easy for scammers to guess your PIN. Do not put birthdays or anniversaries as your PIN.
They will continue to find loopholes and security vulnerabilities in the system, while exploiting those who do not understand it well. With these tips in mind, always stay alert when making a UPI transaction, and you will be protected from potential scammers.