5 Ways Users Can Protect Themselves From Online Fraud

byDilip PrasadLast Updated: May 30, 2023
5 Ways Users Can Protect Themselves From Online Fraud

When it comes to protecting users from becoming a victim to online fraud, Paytm Payments Bank has taken strict measures to ensure their safety. It always keeps its guards up so that no intruder can hack into users’ bank accounts. There are plenty of security checks that Paytm Payments Bank has placed to ensure customers feel safe while banking with us.

While Paytm Payments Bank will always keep your account safe and secure, you should always be on a look out for attempts of online theft and know how to evade them.

Online frauds in India have been on a phenomenal rise in the last few years.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), complaints under several cyber crime categories have increased considerably. UPI fraud cases have risen from 50,812 in Q4 2021 to 1,13,137 in Q1 2022. Similarly, Internet banking fraud complaints rose by 14% from 13,791 in Q4 of 2021 to 34,229 in Q1 of 2022.

As digital payment spreads its wings in interior areas and more and more citizens start using it, cases of online frauds in India are further going to increase. There are many reasons India is seeing an increase in the cases of online fraud.

In this article, we will talk about what online fraud is, how to file a complaint for online fraud, different types of online scams and frauds, and how individuals can safeguard themselves from falling prey to online fraud.

What is Online Fraud?

Simply put, online fraud refers to any fraudulent activity done over the internet. It can include identity theft, phishing attacks, etc. However, here we are specifically talking about online fraud or scam that is directly related to monetary loss.

Here is what online fraud means from the angle of money:

Online fraud is a cybercrime, which involves a criminal or a group of cyber thieves deceiving their victim by using an array of tricks with the intention of robbing money from them. It involves unauthorised acquisition, manipulation, or misuse of financial information or assets for personal monetary gain.

According to the MHA report cited above, out of total cyber crimes reported, 66% belonged to online financial fraud.

How Online Frauds are Conducted

Online scamsters use a lot of different ways to trick people into giving up their card and other personal details, which leads to unauthorised money transfer. It must be noted that scamsters target individuals to steal their money.

Irrespective of your socio-economic status, users working in the police force, administrative officials, corporate professionals, blue-collar employees, and a farmer in the remotest village in India, anyone and everyone can become a victim.

To understand the ways online scams and frauds work, here are a few ways how online frauds in India are carried out:

  • Fraud using UPI

Since UPI has become one of the largest online payment methods in India, a large number of cyber criminals are using UPI to deceive and scam people into transferring money.

A very common trick that scamsters use is to pose as a buyer of second-hand products on online marketplaces that facilitate selling and buying of used products.

Suppose you want to sell your TV on one of the online marketplaces that facilitate this. You post the picture of the TV, its price, condition, and other relevant information and hope someone would like to buy it.

Interesting Read: How to Avoid Payment Frauds for Your Online Store?

Scamsters are always on a lookout for such posts. One of them will reach out to you and say that they are willing to purchase it.

They will ask for your UPI ID where they can transfer the money. Then instead of sending you the money on your UPI ID, they will send you a UPI request to accept money. Very often these UPI requests come with a message that might read something like: “Click Accept to receive Rs 11,000.” However, this is simply a message typed by the scamster.

Unless you read it carefully, you will think that the request is for you to accept the money.

One of the most common ways scamsters make sure you don’t read the fine line is by calling you immediately after sending the link. Under the pretext of helping you how to accept money, they will rush you to simply click on the accept button and enter your UPI PIN.

One of the biggest indicators of such a scam is that the person who will show interest to purchase the TV, will not negotiate the price and agree to pay the amount you have posted online.

Enter UPI PIN To send moneyDon’t enter UPI PIN to receive rewards or cashback from any wallet or bank account.
Enter UPI PIN to check your account balanceDon’t tap on the “Pay” button or enter your UPI PIN to receive money
Scan QR code to make paymentsDo not scan QR codes to receive money
  • Fake contact details

Very often online cyber criminals populate their phone numbers and email IDs on the internet and tag these contact details under employees of banks, telecom companies, insurance companies, etc.

When you need to contact your bank or insurance company for some work, you would ideally Google the number or email ID. These scamsters use SEO tools to ensure their fake details come in the top Google results.

When you call on the number provided, they will talk with you posing  as a bank employee and trick you into giving your crucial bank details. Once you give them these details, your bank account will be emptied.

That is why you should always get phone numbers and email IDs of bank employees from the website of the bank.

  • Phishing

Phishing has become one of the most common forms of online fraud that cybercriminals employ to dupe users. The intention is to trick you into revealing sensitive information such as your username, password, credit/debit card details, or any other personal information that might help them with getting into your bank account.

Very often online scammers pose as employees of bank, telecom, or insurance companies and send SMS or email to individuals.

You will receive a link along with the email or SMS that will ask you to update your bank details or complete the KYC. In many cases, they will also fabricate stories such as “Your bank account has been compromised. Click on this link to immediately change your password.”

Once you click on the link, it will take you to a fake website which will look very similar to the original website of your bank. You will be asked to enter your bank details and PIN number to update your password.

Besides this, clicking the link sent by scamsters, also installs malware on your phone or computer. Through this malware, scamsters can access all your personal files, pictures, and documents on your device.When you open Paytm Payments Bank website, you should always check the URL properly. It should have HTTPS and not HTTP. Check the spelling in the URL. A fake Paytm Bank website will have altered spelling with a few alphabets here and there. Sometimes, there might also be a hyphen between Paytm and bank. If you see any such incorrect spelling, immediately close the window. The correct website is https://www.paytmbank.com.

Easy Steps to Protect Yourself from Online Fraud

When it comes to securing yourselves from such online scams and frauds, it is important to know that cyber criminals change their modus-operandi very often. So, you should prepare yourselves from all types of scenarios and eventualities.

Keeping the fact in mind that it’s not possible to ward off every attempt of online frauds in India, let’s look at how you can better prepare yourselves to eliminate such attempts from hackers.

  • Do not respond to suspicious emails and texts from banks

As mentioned above, phishing has become a very common online banking fraud technique.

If you receive an email or a text claiming it’s from your bank, pay close attention to each and every detail of that mail and text.

For example, no legitimate or authentic organisation will send you an email from an address ending with ‘@gmail.com’ as they have their email address ending with the name of the organisation like ‘@paytm.com’. You also need to keep an eye on the spelling of the organisation mentioned as slightly altered domain names can be used to mimic legitimate organisations.

Genuine emails will generally greet you by your name instead of writing ‘Dear Customer’ or ‘Dear XYZ User’.

Official emails or messages make sure that there is no spelling or grammatical error in the text they send you. If you notice too many errors in the email or message you receive, be alert.

The last thing you should pay attention to is check if there is a sense of urgency in the mail. Usually, phishing emails from cybercriminals ask you to click on the link immediately, else your account will be closed. If the email shows urgency, you should know that it’s a detailed scam plot.

  • Look for HTTPS and padlock

One of the most basic security checks you should do is ensuring that the website you are opening has HTTPS before the web address. There should also be an image of a padlock just before HTTPS. These two elements ensure that the website is safe to use.

While you should definitely look for these while opening your bank’s website, this is a good habit that you should follow while opening any website.

  • Create strong passwords and keep them changing

If you have not done this already, you should come up with strong passwords for all your bank accounts, email IDs, social media accounts, and any other online account. 

You should use unique passwords for each and every account. If you use the same password for all accounts, you will be vulnerable to online fraud as cybercriminals can easily hack into your account.

Ideally, the password should be complex and long. There are many resources online that can generate and even store strong passwords.

Frequently change your passwordDon’t reveal your password to anyone
Create a long and complex password Don’t use personal details in password
Use a password manager to create difficult passwordsDon’t use same password for all accounts
Use a phrase as a password that you will easily rememberDo not to write down your password

While having strong passwords will save you from hackers, you should also implement two-factor authentication on devices as well as for logging in to bank  apps. It will work as an additional layer of security other than the password.

  • Download apps from official resources

There are multiple cases of online fraud in India where scamsters have used dubious apps to hack users’ devices and finally access their bank accounts.

While downloading any app – not just your bank’s app – you should always download them from a reliable and official source. For example, Google Play Store and App Store. There are other reliable resources to download apps as well, but these two are the most secure.

If possible do not download .apk files from an unknown source. Very often children in the family use their parents’ devices. In such cases, parents should take extra precautions to ensure kids are not downloading video game apps, movie screening apps, or video editing apps from unreliable sources or websites.

  • Do not fall for dubious lucky draw awards

Everyone secretly wishes they win a lucky draw prize. The bad news is that cybercriminals know this too well and very often exploit this to dupe users.

If you receive an SMS or email that says you have been selected as the winner of a lucky draw contest, your first reaction should be to delete that email or text. Chances are you’ve never even given your email or name to any such lucky draw contest.

No one gives away money for no reason. That is why it’s safe to assume that such emails and text messages are just a way to lure you into giving away your bank account information.


What is the correct way to report online scams and frauds?

If you are a Paytm Payments Bank customer and need to report online fraud, take following steps:

  • You can contact us on our IVR help desk number or reach out to us from the ‘Help & Support’ section on our Paytm app. For more assistance and information click on the link- https://www.paytmbank.com/Policies/Customer-Grievance-Redressal-Policy-for-Paytm-Payments-Bank
  • You can visit the cybercrime portal at http://cybercrime.gov.in and report the complaint.
  • You can also give us a call at 1800 120 130 to report fraud.

Do I need to provide my CVV or give OTP to receive cashbacks and other rewards?

You should never reveal your CVV or OTP to anyone to receive cashbacks, awards, or money from others. Your bank, credit card company, insurance firm, will never ask you for your bank details. Immediately make an online fraud call complaint at 1903 if someone asks for such banking details.

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