9 Simple to Protect Yourself from UPI Frauds

Mar 26, 2022

Listen to 9 Simple to Protect Yourself from UPI Frauds

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Millions of people in India now use UPI apps for making payments and doing transactions online. The QR code can be seen everywhere, right from a cash counter of a franchisee of an international fashion brand to a street hawker's handcart. The UPI is widely accepted by merchants and customers because it is a convenient way to make a payment that ensures the security of the transaction. However, with the increasing popularity and growth of UPI transactions, it has caught the eye of fraudsters. Hence, it is crucial for every UPI user to know the tips to protect themselves from UPI frauds.

A few years ago, India was a cash-based economy. Very few people were comfortable making online payments using internet banking and mobile banking. The pandemic and demonetisation have brought to the fore the importance of digital infrastructure in India. The key contributor to the country's digital growth is the Government of India's 'Digital India' initiative. Due to the many benefits that it offers, UPI (Unified Payment Interface) has emerged as the most preferred online payment mode amongst customers. Some of the popular UPI backed apps are Gpay, PhonePe, Paytm, BHIM, MobiKwik, etc. Although these quick and easy payment modes let you transfer money from different bank accounts, vulnerability to being scammed remains one of the biggest concerns. But that does not mean you need to give up using the convenient payment mode to be safe. If you are a regular UPI user, you do not have to panic. There are fraudsters in every sector who try to find loopholes in the system and make fast money. UPI or the digital payment sector is no exception to it. You can totally avoid being scammed by taking precautions and being responsible when using the digital payment mode.

Here are the 9 tips to protect yourself from UPI frauds:

1. Ensure your phone is locked when not in use:

Many people keep general information like their date of birth or phone number as (Personal Identification Number) PIN, which can easily be guessed by the scammers. It will help if you keep a strong password or PIN for your Lock Screen that no one can easily guess. And most importantly, if you use UPI apps or have any banking apps on your phone, you should always keep your phone locked when not in use. When your phone is locked and has a strong password, and even if it gets stolen or lost, there is less chance of any UPI fraud by misusing your personal data.

9 Simple to Protect Yourself from UPI Frauds
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2. Do not share your PIN or Password with anyone:

If someone has access to your phone and knows your PIN, they can easily gain access to your financial information and transfer money. Therefore, you should not share your UPI PIN or mobile password with anyone unless you absolutely trust them. Apart from this, having the same PINs and passwords for all your accounts is also dangerous. If someone gets to know the password of your one account, they will be able to access all your online accounts. Hence, it is advisable to keep different passwords and PINs for all your accounts. For example, your debit card or credit card PIN should be different from your UPI PIN. Similarly, your Instagram password should be different from your internet banking password.

3. Remember you do not need to enter the PIN to receive the money:

The UPI apps have a 'request money' feature that lets you request your contacts for any contribution or dues they need to pay you. Although it seems like a really helpful feature, it has been misused by scammers. The scammers send you the 'receive money' request with the amount they want from you. You will see two options whenever you get such a request; 'pay' and 'decline.' If you know the other person and the request is genuine, you can tap on the 'pay' option to make the payment. The fraudsters generally send such requests with a message indicating you will receive the funds in your bank account after entering the PIN. However, once you press the 'pay' option and enter your PIN, the money gets deducted from your account. Hence, you should always remember that you never have to enter the PIN to receive the money. Instead of simply ignoring such fraudulent requests, tap on 'decline' and, if possible, report the same.

4. Make sure you use only Authentic Apps:

Fraudsters create counterfeit UPI apps that look very similar to the authentic UPI apps. While downloading the app from the Play Store or App Store, you have to be very careful. Counterfeit apps can steal all your personal data not only from the app but also from the device. Once the fraudsters gain access to your sensitive data, they can transfer funds from your account, blackmail you, or use the data for any illegal purpose. Modi BHIM, BHIM Banking Guide, BHIM Payment UPI Guide, etc. are some of the reported fraud apps you should be aware of. Similarly, it has been noticed that these fraudsters also create counterfeit banking apps. Hence, it is not advisable to download any financial apps without verifying their authenticity.


5. Verify the UPI ID:

Every UPI user has a UPI ID that can be considered as their identity to transfer funds. If you are directly transferring funds to any UPI ID, you should double-check if you have entered the correct ID. Making a typo in UPI ID may result in a credit to the wrong account. Besides, scammers create fake UPI IDs, especially in the cases of donation IDs. These IDs look similar to the official UPI IDs but are actually frauds. When PM Cares Fund stated their UPI ID pmcares@sbi to make it easier for people to make the donations, many scammers tried to take advantage of it. They generated several similar fake UPI IDs with SBI like pm.care@sbi, pmcarefund@sbi, etc.

6. Pay attention to Spam Warnings:

Most UPI apps try to identify the fraudsters based on previous transactions, and whenever they send the request for money, the app sends a warning notification to the receiver of the request. If you receive such notification that implies that the request could be a scam, you have to be alert and verify if the request is from a genuine person. The scammers can also send phishing links to make payments through emails and SMSs. These links will direct you to the UPI app, and entering the PIN can debit your bank account.

7. Use the UPI app carefully in public places:

You should be cautious when using the UPI app in public places. It is not advisable to use UPI apps or any other banking apps in crowded places as fraudsters can be present anywhere, or even normal people can take advantage if they get to know your sensitive information. This way of stealing sensitive information without obtaining the victim's attention is called Shoulder Surfing. Furthermore, using the free wifi at public places like railway stations, cafes, etc., increases exposure to online scams.

8. Be careful when using Screen-sharing Apps:

It is also necessary to use the screen-sharing apps carefully and only when needed. These apps can have access to your sensitive data, which can be misused. If you have such apps on your phone, it is advisable to delete them if not required. However, if you need them, be careful when allowing data access at the time of setting them up.

9. Keep Minimum UPI Apps:

With most things being available online, many people prefer online shopping for all their needs. Hence, different merchants offer discounts on payments through different apps to attract customers. As a result, online shoppers use multiple payment apps to gain maximum benefits. However, using multiple payment apps increases the risk of getting scammed. Hence, it is advisable to use one or two payment apps for all your transactions. Besides, to ensure maximum security, it would help if you update the apps regularly.

To Conclude:

These are the 9 simple tips to protect yourself from UPI frauds. Make sure you follow these tips to avoid getting scammed with UPI. Also, keep an eye on your UPI transactions and bank statements so that you can immediately report any suspicious transactions or actions. Moreover, have an updated anti-virus on all your devices for an added security.


Warm Regards,
Ketki Jadhav
Content Writer

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