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How to prevent digital fraud amid COVID-19 crisis

Priyadarshini Maji
Coronavirus outbreak, Novel Coronavirus COVID-19, Coronavirus lockdown, social distancing, online transactions, online shopping, money transfers, bill payments, cyber frauds, hacking, Cyber security

The COVID-19 crisis has given a push to digital payments as more and more people are making payments besides doing financial transactions digitally. People are now avoiding making transactions in cash, and are even abstaining from using cards. However, the more we move towards digital transactions, the more we are exposed to innovative fraudsters.

NPCI through its UPI tweeter handle has recently warned against digital fraud and suggested ways to prevent fraud while making digital transactions. Digital frauds are not just limited to loss from IT theft, email spoofing, malware attack, cyberstalking, identity theft, or phishing, but fraudsters are also calling and fooling even tech-savvy people.

UPI npci fraud

To stay clear of such fraudulent activities or not fall prey to such frauds, there are certain guidelines and measures that one needs to take to stay safe. Along with most big banks, insurance companies, digital wallet providers keep educating their customers on how to keep them safe from digital frauds. Experts say even a tech-savvy and well-informed customer fall prey to such scams. Hence, all should be very careful and aware while dealing with digital cash.

Here is how avid users of digital payment apps like Google Pay, Paytm, PhonePe, etc. can keep their money safe:

Downloading Apps: It starts from here when you are downloading the app, be it from PlayStore or Apple Store. There are many fake and harmful apps, which once downloaded access the personal information of the user and gets all kinds of financial details from the phone. While downloading apps, make sure to download only trusted apps, and do not download just any apps suggested by a stranger. Research about the app, authenticate it before downloading it.

UPI PIN: This is similar to ATM PIN, and is warned by industry experts not to share a UPI PIN with anyone and keep it a secret. As the UPI PIN is just like an ATM card’s PIN, do share your PIN with anyone.

When you need the UPI PIN: Most people do not know when they actually need to enter their UPI PIN. Note that, you do not need to enter your UPI PIN to receive money from anyone. Fraudsters take advantage of this and ask customers for their UPI PIN in the name of sending money. UPI PIN is needed only when you are giving someone money.

Access to trusted Apps: The UPI PIN gives access to banking details, hence, do not enter your UPI PIN in just any app. As it is similar to the ATM card’s PIN, enter the UPI PIN only in government-approved UPI app while making a transaction. Not only through phone, be watchful while sharing the UPI PIN on websites or forms send via a link.

The Customer Care scam: One of the biggest scams is frauds talking to people as customer care. Do not give out your details to customer care calls. Try to use your payments app to reach customer care. All payments app has the ‘Help’ section through which customers can get in touch with customer care. Hence, instead of just picking a number from the Internet, try to find support details in the help section of your app.