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Common Types of UPI Frauds and How to Stay Safe

  • Highlights

  • UPI is an easy way to facilitate inter-bank, person-to-merchant, and peer-to-peer transactions

  • A common UPI fraud gets the target to download a screen mirroring app on the pretext of solving an issue and gaining full access to the phone

  • Remember the golden rule – to receive the money, you never need to disclose your UPI PIN

The world moving online has led to two things. On one hand, it offers convenience, ease of use and has become an imperative way of survival, especially owing to the pandemic. On the other hand, it opens up multiple avenues of cyber frauds such as UPI frauds, fake scams and bogus employment opportunities.

Common Types of UPI Frauds

For those who aren’t well versed with the concept of UPI, Unified Payments Interface was developed by NPCI to ensure real-time instant payment between banks. It facilitates inter-bank person-to-merchant and peer-to-peer transactions. While it is one of the easiest ways to receive and send money, learning and making ourselves aware of the common UPI frauds will help in being vigilant and steering clear of them.

Common Types of UPI Frauds and How to Stay Safe

Getting someone to disclose their confidential financial information is a classic way to carry out UPI fraud.

  1. Impersonating genuine sellers UPI fraud

    Sometimes people are in the habit of Googling a shopkeeper’s number to reach out to them and order things. At times this number is that of an impostor who lists it under multiple businesses. After taking down your order, they ask you to prepay the amount via UPI and then no delivery ever reaches you.


  2. Phishing UPI fraud

    Unsanctioned payment links that appear very similar to the original URL of the merchant are sent to the victim. When they click on the link, they are directed to the UPI app where they enter the PIN, thereby permitting auto-debit from the existing UPI app leading to unauthorized debit transactions.


  3. UPI fraud via unauthorized access due to screen mirroring apps

    Fraudsters either reach out as bank employees or list their numbers as customer care numbers of legitimate companies on Google. The idea is to solve victim issues such as a complaint raised by the victim, KYC update, payment pending, etc. Once the victim and the fraudster connect, they are asked to download 3rd party apps such as Any Desk and Team Viewer to address the grievance. These screen mirroring apps give the impersonators complete access to the victim’s phone and they can carry out multiple unapproved financial transactions.


  4. The classic OTP, PIN UPI fraud


    The classic OTP, PIN UPI fraud

    These are widespread ways to con people across digital payment platforms from UPI to credit cards to e-wallets. People unknowingly share their UPI PINs or OTPs with scammers, who then gain unauthorized access to the victim’s account.


  5. UPI fraud via initiating a collect request

    Fraudsters use the collect request option to scam people into getting money into their accounts. They either say it is a debit reversal, refund or cite other reasons and insist that the victims approve this ‘Collect request’ by entering their PIN to receive money.


  6. UPI fraud via misleading UPI handles

    Fraudsters make fake UPI social media pages such as @BHIM2help or @NPCIDisputeTeam to reach out to customers who have complained or asked queries on the actual UPI pages. They con customers on the pretext of grievance redressal and get them to give out personal financial information. People fall prey to these because they genuinely have posted queries and the handles are deceptive.


How to Stay Safe?

This Financial Literacy Week is all about convenience of digital transactions, security of digital transactions and protection of customers, as per RBI’s theme ‘Go Digital, Go Secure’. The RBI guidelines for UPI frauds in banks, clearly state that while making UPI transactions, one should be alert. To receive a payment, no PIN is required. If you are being asked for a PIN or OTP, your account will be debited and you will be sending money. This is the golden rule of being paid via UPI.

Secondly, be extra cautious while accepting payment requests. The ‘collect request’ feature on the UPI app is being misused by imposters, to siphon off money. Remember, if you are being asked to enter a PIN, you are sending money and not receiving, no matter how convincing the impostor sounds.

Thirdly, be wary of fake apps. These malicious apps mirror your phone and give access to scammers to misuse it.

Lastly, follow some basic dos and don’ts, not just to prevent yourself from UPI frauds but any other cyber fraud as well. Do not click on links or download attachments from unsolicited emails or messages. Never share confidential financial information.

Even at Bajaj Finserv, we are creating constant awareness amongst our clients about not disclosing personal financial information such as PIN, CVV, or OTP details. Customer care representatives of legitimate companies never ask for this kind of information, and if they do, you have the right to refuse it.
Remember it's better to be safe than sorry!

Savdhaan Rahein. Safe Rahein.

Read more:
• Cautionary Note - https://www.bajajfinserv.in/cautionary-notice-new.pdf
• Infosec Page - https://www.bajajfinserv.in/infosec-pages
• Fraud Awareness Blog - https://www.bajajfinserv.in/insights/fraud-awareness

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