The Covid-19 pandemic has played a big role in boosting digital payments with individuals avoiding physical interactions to stay safe. This has pushed people to learn online banking and go cashless. While this made it easier to pay bills sitting at home, online fraud has also increased, especially to target those who are new to these technologies. So it’s no wonder there is a new PayTM cashback scam floating around.
The latest scam comes as a random Chrome notification saying “Congratulations! you have won Paytm Scratch Card.” Many people don’t think twice before opening a link offering tempting cashbacks others click just because of curiosity. This specific notification redirects us to a site called paytm-cashoffer.com.
It claims the user has won a Rs 2,647 cashback and the site then asks you to send the reward to your Paytm account. The site has a design similar to the official app, so a novice might not notice it at first. Once you tap on the send button, you are redirected to the original Paytm app, where the person is asked to “pay” the same amount. Many won’t notice that this is a “Pay” button — tapping on user psychology that makes them ignore stuff they think it’s routine.
The scam clearly taps into those who are not aware of how a UPI-based app works. If the UPI payment app is not installed on your phone, then this trick won’t work on you.
The link offered us different cashback offers every time we tried. But it works only on a mobile phone and not on a PC.
It is important to note that Paytm will never send you a cashback offer via any other platform. You will always notice the cashback offers in the original Paytm app. The company sends cashback directly to your wallet or bank account. It will never ask you to visit different sites to collect or send the amount to the account.
In the last 15 months, 25% of B2C scams were identified in KYC and 20% in QR codes, according to TrustCheckr, a fraud data insights and analytics firm. Paytm claims its app can immediately identify and block suspicious activities using AI and notify if a user has installed apps that risk their account. The company says it has the “best in class cyber-security team to flag fraudulent notifications and alert telecom authorities, banks and cyber cells.”
Beware of QR code/UPI frauds
If you want to sell something online, no matter what the other person is saying, do not tap on the “pay” button in the hope of receiving any money. For example, Paytm (for business) lets a user send “request money” links to the customer and the user only need to authorise that transaction by tapping on the “pay” button. Scammers can cook up stories to convince you that you will get the money only when you tap on that button.
One should never accept payment via QR codes (sent on WhatsApp) if they are selling something online. For instance, you want to sell your laptop. Fraudsters will first try to convince you that they want to buy it immediately and will book it. A scammer will never accept the cash-on-delivery option. For payment, they will share a QR code on WhatsApp, asking you to scan it to receive money in your bank account. If you are not convinced with the QR code payment system, then the person will say it will first send Rs 1 QR code, and if this works, then he will send the full amount. In order to gain your trust, the scammer will send you the right QR code and you will get the money.
The second QR code that you will receive on WhatsApp will transfer the full amount from your account after you scan it. Since this modus operandi is quite common now, users need to be careful about scanning any unknown QR code. When you scan a QR code, it means you are paying the money.
A person might even pretend to be an army officer and will make up some stories about they have a different payment system in the army. He will send you some fake identity proofs on WhatsApp to earn your trust and will then ask you to scan a QR code if you want to receive money.
If you are dealing with strangers for selling goods, you need to be careful about everything they say or do. Additionally, never trust someone who is asking you to do something in a UPI app unless you want to send him the money.
Paytm: How to report fraud
The option to report a digital payment fraud is available in every UPI-based app. If the option is not immediately visible in the app, then you can visit the Help and Support section to find it. Here’s how you can report a fraud on the Paytm app.
Step 1: Tap on the profile section located on the top left corner.
Step 2: Tap again on Help and Support.
Step 3: Scroll down to find the “Choose a service you need help with” section, and tap on the “View all services” button.
Step 4: Scroll down and tap on the “Report fraud and transactions” box.
Step 5: Select an issue that describes your problem. You can report phishing site, fraud transaction, or any other issue.
Step 6: Once you select the issue, you will be asked to share the details of the fraud, so that they can take action after properly investigating the issue.
How to stay away from such UPI-based frauds
#Users should never click on an unknown link they receive on WhatsApp or via SMS. If you get any type of bank or cashback offer via these platforms, then you should mostly ignore it.
#Keepin mind that you do not have to tap on the “Pay” button or enter your UPI PIN to “receive” money. A UPI PIN is only used to send money or to check the bank balance.
#Avoid sharing your One-time password (OTP) or any bank details with anyone.
#Double check the identity of the person before transferring a fund.
#A lot of messages or website links that you get (via different platforms) include hoaxes or fake news. If you look carefully, you might notice spelling mistakes or different design, or behaviour thats unusual. Look for these signs so you can check if the information provided in the fake link is accurate or not.
#Download trusted and original apps only. There are times when an app is not visible to you and you end up downloading a fake one that is a clone of the original version.
#Never take the risk of scanning an unknown QR code on WhatsApp as you might end up paying the scammer.
#Read the text carefully while doing any transaction on a UPI-based app.
#If you are suspicious about an unknown URL or link, do not open it as it may infect your phone with malware that can steal the financial information or other data that you might have stored on your phone.