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UPI Fraud: Types and Prevention to Secure Your Account

Published On Apr/21/2024

The introduction of UPI as an online payment platform has significantly simplified our daily transactions. As the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) gains widespread popularity, more individuals are opting for it in their routine financial dealings. However, this surge in usage has also led to a rise in UPI-related in India.

It's crucial to stay informed about these online UPI scams, underscoring the importance of understanding UPI and how scammers exploit this platform. Let’s understand the different types of UPI frauds and how one can prevent them from happening.

Different types of UPI fraud

Beware of various tactics employed by fraudsters in UPI scams, compromising your privacy and security:

Screen Monitoring Apps:

Malicious individuals may exploit screen monitoring apps to secretly record your screen activities, capturing sensitive details like UPI PINs and OTPs without your knowledge. This allows unauthorized access to your banking information for fraudulent activities.

Malware:

Malware, often downloaded unknowingly from fake email attachments or unsecured websites, is a prevalent form of UPI fraud. It is designed to extract and copy data from the infected device.

Money Mule:

In a more elaborate scheme, fraud rings transfer money obtained through financial data to an intermediary account, acting as a money mule. This account serves to consolidate funds collected from multiple unsuspecting victims.

SIM Cloning:

With the rise of OTP-mandatory rules by banks, SIM cloning has become a significant threat. Fraudsters can clone your SIM, intercept OTPs, and even change your UPI PIN. This grants them access to your bank account details and ID proof for PIN reset, leading to rapid victimisation.

Deceptive UPI Handles:

Fraudsters create misleading UPI handles on platforms like social media or online marketplaces to trick users. Using enticing offers or urgent requests, they deceive individuals into making transactions to their fraudulent UPI handles.

Vishing:

In vishing, fraudsters pose as bank representatives, fabricating scenarios to extract personal information such as PINs or passwords by pretending to be conducting legitimate bank inquiries.

Collect Request Scams:

Fraudsters may use their UPI apps to request and collect payments, claim to assist with transaction issues or pose as a legitimate entity seeking debit reversals. In reality, they aim to deceive you into providing sensitive information or initiating fraudulent transactions to their accounts.

Stay vigilant and be cautious of these tactics to protect yourself from falling victim to UPI fraud.

Ways to protect yourself from UPI frauds

Protecting yourself from UPI fraud is crucial in this era of digital transactions. The convenience of UPI addresses has made cashless transactions popular, but it has also attracted scammers, resulting in an increase in UPI fraud complaints. Here are five essential security measures to safeguard yourself from UPI scams:

Keep Your UPI PIN and OTP Confidential:

Never share your UPI PIN or OTP with anyone claiming to be from a bank or government institution. Legitimate entities will never ask for such details over the phone. If you receive such a call, it's a clear sign of fraud.

Avoid Giving Access to Your Devices:

Fraudsters often ask for access to your phone or computer under the pretext of KYC (Know Your Customer) verification. Never grant such access to anyone, especially not to customer care agents, to prevent falling victim to scams.

Exercise Caution with Links:

Be wary of random links or messages promising rewards or cash. Avoid making transactions through such links, as they may be used by fraudsters to collect your UPI PIN and gain unauthorised access to your bank account. Always verify the UPI link and account holder's name before making payments.

Regularly Change Your UPI PIN:

Enhance the security of your UPI account by changing your UPI PIN regularly, perhaps on a quarterly basis. This simple step adds an extra layer of protection against potential UPI fraud.

Be Skeptical of Payment Requests from Unknown Sources:

If you receive a payment request from an unfamiliar source, exercise caution and decline it if the person seems suspicious. Some fraudsters may send QR codes to mislead you into initiating a payment. Remember that you don't need to enter your UPI PIN to receive a payment; clicking on such links may lead to unauthorised deductions from your account.

By adopting these security measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to UPI fraud and ensure a safer digital transaction experience.