UPI Frauds: How to Secure Your Account?

Just like there are two sides to a coin, there are two sides to every story. While the digital medium has made lives a lot easier, even in terms of finances, there have been many cases of misuse of the digital media as well. With the increased use of UPI, there have been increasing chances of UPI frauds. However, a few careful measures can save you from falling prey to such fraudsters.

With global situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, the online medium has become all the more popular, and so have been the online frauds. While making payments is just a click away for users, misusing such a facility is also easier for fraudsters. Moreover, with more and more people switching to online payments, there is a bigger pool of prey for fraudsters and scamsters.

Well, there is still no need to panic. With careful usage and a few measures, you can clearly secure your account and not fall prey to fraudsters.

How can you Fall prey to UPI Frauds?

Let’s first understand what actions can be taken by fraudsters to misuse your UPI accounts and what you should do to stay safe from UPI frauds-

  • Phishing scams

You may have received SMSs containing payment links even if you haven’t initiated any payment on your account. You need to be aware of such messages as these SMSs are those sent by the fraudsters and contain unauthorized payment links. While these links are almost entirely identical to the original links, you can still figure out if it’s a fake one. If you, unknowingly, click on that link, it will take you to the UPI application on your phone and will ask you to select a payment method for auto-debit. If you do so, the amount will be debited from your UPI account instantly, without you realizing what you just did.

How to secure your account from such Phishing scams?

To stay away from falling prey to such phishing scams, it is strictly advised that you don’t click on any link to receive or make payment unless you have initiated any such transaction through your UPI app. To help users from falling prey to such scams, various mobile payment applications such as Paytm also send continuous reminders to their users stating that the application would never ask a user to click on any link to make/receive payment unless initiated by the user himself/herself.

  • Remote screen mirroring

With almost everybody working from home, a lot of people download various remote screen mirroring tools which can be connected to a user’s mobile phone or laptop through WiFi connectivity. However, not all of these applications that users connect their devices to, are safe. There are also certain unverified applications, which when downloaded on a device, have complete access to the details stored in it. The application can take all the information from your phone and establish complete control of the device. Apart from this, fraudsters may also pose as bank representatives, and may ask you to download a third-party application for the purpose of verification. Once you believe them and download the suggested application, they can have complete remote access to your phone and can use the saved details in whatever way they wish to.

How to secure your account from such Remote screen mirroring frauds?

Although Google Play Store and Apple App Store contribute to their maximum in removing duplicate and false apps from their platforms, you may still come across an application or two that’s unverified. Therefore, it is recommended that you download only trusted, verified applications on your mobile phone. Also, before downloading any app, you must verify the name, developer, registered website and email address of the application properly.

  • Deceptive UPI handles

Fraudsters create many fake UPI handles containing the terms such as NPCI, BHIM, or the like for users to trust them and use them. Looking at such government/bank associated terms, users find such pages/social media handles authentic and reveal their account details through a fake UPI app.

How to secure your account from such deceptive UPI handles?

It is strictly prohibited that you do not post your account details or any related contact information on any social media platform. Even though you might post it for a brand to recognise, it is less likely that your motive would complete. Instead of the brand, it is more likely for a fraudster to come across your contact details, using which they may contact you and misuse your information. Remember, every social media page/UPI handle that has a government related term is not authentic.

  • OTP/UPI PIN-related scams

There may be situations wherein you’d come across an individual who may ask you to click on a link to make/receive a payment. While you may believe the person to be true, you should never follow their instructions. Many fraudsters send “request money” links to users, clicking on which, instead of receiving money, the amount gets deducted from your account. Apart from this, fraudsters may try to convince you to share your OTP/UPI PIN over the call by acting as bank representatives or the like. Once you share the OTP/UPI PIN, they can authenticate the transaction and steal money from your account.

How to secure your account from such OTP/UPI PIN-related scams?

You should never share your OTP/UPI PIN with anyone. When you make a transaction through any UPI application, banks send you an OTP to prove your identity and authenticate the transaction. Hence, you should never ever share such information with anybody as it is a proof of your identity to the bank/payment application.

To Conclude:

One of the best ways to avoid falling prey to any frauds/scams is to stay away from strangers who may get in touch with you and ask for your confidential information. Hence, staying away from strangers will keep you safe in all respects. Simply, do not respond to-

  • SMSs with unverified links
  • Calls from any bank representatives or the like (unless you have initiated any such call)
  • Individuals asking for your CVV, OTP or UPI PIN, etc.
  • Any social media handle asking for your contact details
  • Any unverified application

Simply staying away from any transaction, call, etc. that you haven’t initiated will be good enough for you to stay secured against your UPI account. It is also advised that you learn how UPI actually works so that you are completely aware of the process. This will provide you with complete information of the UPI process and will help you stay away from any misguidance.

FAQs
How can I secure my UPI account?
To secure your UPI account, you must simply stay away from the following-
  • SMSs with unverified links
  • Calls from any bank representatives or the like (unless you have initiated any such call)
  • Individuals asking for your CVV, OTP or UPI PIN, etc.
  • Any social media handle asking for your contact details
  • Any unverified application
How can I stay away from remote screen mirroring?
There are certain unverified applications, which when downloaded on a device, have complete access to the details stored in it. The application can take all the information from your phone and establish complete control of the device. Hence, it is recommended that you download only trusted, verified applications on your mobile phone. Also, before downloading any app, you must verify the name, developer, registered website and email address of the application properly.
What are phishing scams?
Users may receive various SMSs sent by the fraudsters containing unauthorized payment links. While these links are almost entirely identical to the original links, you can still figure out if it’s a fake one. If you, unknowingly, click on that link, it will take you to the UPI application on your phone and will ask you to select a payment method for auto-debit. If you do so, the amount will be debited from your UPI account instantly, and you may fall prey to a phishing scam.
How can fraudsters use deceptive UPI handles?
Fraudsters create many fake UPI handles containing the terms such as NPCI, BHIM, or the like for users to trust them and use them. Looking at such government/bank associated terms, users find such pages/social media handles authentic and reveal their account details through a fake UPI app.
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