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How to Prevent Yourself from Falling Victim to 5 Types of UPI Frauds in India

  • Highlights

  • If a UPI transaction requires a PIN, it means you are sending money, not receiving it

  • Common UPI frauds include phishing, fake money collect requests and getting people to download counterfeit apps

  • Never engage with unknown people on the internet

With India moving towards a cashless economy, UPI as a mode to transfer money has gained immense momentum over the past couple of years. While entering a four-digit number to get the job done is convenient and easy, it brings a few loopholes and frauds. On average, India witnesses 80,000 UPI scams in a month, with frauds amounting to Rs. 200 crores. However, staying vigilant and aware of these common UPI payment frauds can really prevent one from falling for them.

Common UPI payment frauds that are plaguing the society

Mirroring app UPI scam
Fraudsters flood the web with fake customer care numbers of UPI apps. They get customers to download 3rd party apps such as Any Desk or Team Viewer on the pretext of addressing a concern. This gives them complete unauthorised access to the victim's phone.

UPI ID spoofing scam
Payment links similar to the original merchant URL, such as Amazzon@abfspay are sent. The victims click on this link and are directed to the UPI app to enter their PIN and conclude the transaction. This permits auto-debit unauthorised transactions from the current UPI app.

Collect request UPI fraud
Fraudsters send a collect request to victim's stating it's a refund or debit reversal. The victims get conned into approving this 'Collect request' by entering their pin to receive money, only to realise their accounts are debited for the same amount.

UPI fraud by impersonating merchants on the internet
Impostors list their numbers as merchants on the internet. When you google a shopkeeper's number and reach out, they take down the order and ask for it to be prepaid via UPI. The order never reaches you.

Misleading social media UPI handles scam
Swindlers create bogus social media pages such as @NPCIDisputeTeam or @BHIM2help and get in touch with customers on the pretext of grievance redressal. They fool them into disclosing personal financial information such as UPI PIN or OTP and siphon money off them.

upi payment frauds

How can you prevent yourself from falling prey to these UPI payment frauds in India?

1. The golden rule of getting a credit
If you are meant to get a credit or a refund, you do not need to share your UPI, PIN, password, OTP, or scan a QR code. If you are being asked to do either, you are permitting a debit from your account.

2. Don't get involved with fraudsters
If the caller is unfamiliar or the email is unsolicited, don't engage. Be very sure of the identity of the person you are interacting with.

3. Don't randomly search for numbers online
If you have searched for a shopkeeper's contact details online or are buying from a merchant for the first time, do not prepay the amount. Ensure that you receive the goods before making a payment. Better still, obtain merchant numbers from their websites or reliable sources.

4. Be wary of SPAM warnings and payment requests
If you receive a collect request or request money option from an unknown account, the UPI app will inform you of a spam warning. You need to select either 'Pay or Decline'. It is always wise to decline a request if the sender is unknown.

upi payment frauds

5. Be cautious of counterfeit apps
Multiple fake and malicious apps are disguised to cheat people. The app appears to be similar to the original bank app and, if downloaded, can give fraudsters access to sensitive data to steal your money.

Other tips:
  • Never disclose your PIN, password, or OTP to people

  • Do not download third-party apps for grievance redressals

  • Do not download UPI apps from text message links. Ensure that the app is recognised by the RBI

  • Do not disclose too much personal information on the internet

  • Only use secure Wi-Fi networks when you are dealing with money

  • Notify your financial provider immediately if you notice suspicious activity on your account

The RBI guidelines for UPI payment frauds repeatedly stress the need to be vigilant while making UPI transactions. While UPI offers accessibility, it opens up many vulnerable doors; a little prudence can go a long way. 

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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