As per a leading business dailies report, there have come to light a relatively new form of cyber-theft incidences using UPI or unified payments interface apps. In it fraudsters have leveraged on the unique feature of the UPI app ‘collect request’ which users of the app are not familiar with.
How cyber theft is being given shape using UPI?
First and foremost, scamsters in order to win over the confidence of the victim pretend to be defence personnel and then tell that they will make some payment via a UPI app. And during the process, taps on the collect request feature through which user of the app places the request for payment. This request is then approved by the victim as they wrongly consider that they are in receipt of funds but in an actual scenario they are being robbed off funds from their bank account.
Say for instance, Ms X placed an ad for some product which she wants to dispose off and the other party claiming to be interested in the product says that he or she will make the payment for purchasing it via a UPI app and criminal here as a test transaction remits just a meager amount and says the rest will be furnished upon confirmation of the transaction. But then he kept sending her request to collect money, which she without much know-how continued to approve and it was only after multiple transactions were carried out, that she realized that the amount was getting debited from her account and stopped to entertain any further transaction with him.
Google Pay- A better digital payments mode
Further, the report quotes the spokesperson from Google as saying, “Secondly, the ‘collect request’ feature is unique to UPI, and, hence, not a lot of users are familiar with how it works. However, on Google Pay, we are careful to be very explicit about the direction of money flow”.
“There are also machine learning-based fraud prevention models in the backend. For instance, if a new user is suddenly raising a lot of collect requests to various IDs, that person’s account is blocked for review and only cleared if it is certain that the transactions are legitimate,” the spokesperson added.
HDFC Bank also alerts its customers of fraud via UPI through SMS
Also on similar lines, the private sector lender HDFC Bank has been sending alerts to its customers on being cautious. The banks SMS message says “There is a new way in which fraudsters are stealing your details and money. To prevent any loss, read our instructions here”. And perhaps the fraud specified here is also routed via UPI.