In the last few years, Digital payments in India have seen massive growth and one of the major reasons behind this is UPI or Unified Payments Interface which was introduced in 2016. According to the latest report from NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India), in October 2022, UPI processed 7.3 billion transactions which amount to Rs 12.11 trillion which shows that majority of the Indian population has adapted these UPI payment apps as their primary method of payment. There is no doubt that these UPI payment apps have made it more convenient, especially for hassle-free online payments but on the negative side, it has also led to an increase in the number of cybercrimes and online frauds. Aniket Pande from BlazeTechnica lists some of the most commonly done UPI scams and how you can avoid these to stay safe.
OLX Payment Scam:
OLX is one of the most popular marketplaces when it comes to buying and selling used products at an affordable price, but since the platform allows its users to create an anonymous ID while dealing with buyers and sellers, it leads to a lot of online fraud and hence it is very important to stay cautious while making a deal. Now here’s how to identify such suspicious people on this platform, usually, there might be some product listed which is offered at an extremely low price, but the seller asks for a complete advance payment or a partial payment for shipping the product. In most cases, these are scammers who will just run away with your money and one should avoid making a deal with such people.
Another way of scamming on OLX is impersonation and here’s how it works, if you are selling something on OLX you may encounter someone who pretends to be an army officer and may even share a fake picture of an ID card with you just to gain your trust, he will agree to your product deal and will insist for an advance online payment from his side for the product you are selling, this might sound very convincing. But, here’s how these scammers try to rob money, the scammer will share a QR code and will convince you to scan the code and enter the UPI pin to receive the amount, in most cases people who are well aware of how UPI transactions work also fall for this trap and end up transferring the amount to the scammer’s bank account and lose their money.
How to avoid this: To avoid getting robbed by such scammers, it is very important to understand how the UPI transaction actually works, a user needs to enter the UPI pin and scan the QR code only while sending the money, for receiving money there is no such requirement in any case.
Scammers continuously try to find new ways to steal money, recently a lot of people reported how they got scammed through a phone call. In this scenario you may get a phone call from an unknown number and the person might pretend that he is from your network company and this call is regarding fixing network issues on your smartphone and will ask you to dial *401* and a secret number along with this on your phone, this secret number is nothing but the scammer’s phone number and *401* will enable call forwarding on your phone which will divert all your phone calls to the scammer’s phone. Now through this, the scammer will log in to your WhatsApp account getting all your contact access and will text your contacts asking for money through UPI by sharing his QR code.
How to avoid this: It is extremely important to be very cautious while receiving calls from such unknown people who ask to dial any number or install any app on your phone and make sure you are well aware of the number which enables call forwarding on your network carrier, also never click on any suspicious link which you receive as a text message on WhatsApp or any other social media platforms.
In case if anyone has already got scammed through a UPI payment these are the steps which need to be taken-
- Inform your bank and the payment company regarding the fraud and raise a complaint
- File an FIR at your local police station
- Raise a complaint with NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India)
- Write to the Digital Payments ombudsman regarding the fraud which happened
Conclusion: It is always important to be aware and cautious about online scams and frauds. Ensure to not click on any suspicious links or forwards, and do not give out personal information. If you have fallen into a scam, ensure to inform officials and police, to help you out.