(UPI)-based digital payments

In recent years countries like India have become increasingly adept at digital payments following the pandemic adoption of digital payments. The number of citizens shifting to cashless transactions has increased in India's suburbs and hinterlands, including through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Aadhaar-enabled Payments System (AePS), Internet Banking, and many others. In the upcoming months, digital payments are expected to increase by 78 percent in India, according to a reports


What happened with Radhika Parekh?

Using a Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based digital payments platform, a Mumbai-based finance analyst lost Rs 87,000 purchasing 3-beers online. During a Google search for alcohol stores in Powai, Radhika Parekh found the contact number for Star Wine shop.

On the telephone, the store staff asked Parekh to share her UPI ID with them and made the payment request via Google Pay. When Parekh shared her UPI ID, a payment request was sent through Google Pay and her account was debited for Rs 29,001. In response to her inquiry, the staff apologized and explained that an error had been made.

Her account was debited again by 58,000 rs after she disconnected the call. After Parekh inquired about the transactions at the alcohol store, the store owner told her that the phone number she had used did not belong to them. According to the police, this case is being investigated under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information and Technology Act (IT Act).

Unsecured payments invite risks 

Cyber fraud is an increasing threat with increased online payments. When there is an issue with a transaction through an app or bank account, call the legal and official numbers of the call center to ensure a safe transaction. Additionally, establish a password for every account or app that holds such sensitive information.

What could have been done?

Clearly, digital payments are requiring increased cybersecurity as technology advances. Creating a highly efficient and secure digital payment ecosystem in the country has become more important as the benefits of digital payments outweigh the risks. 

Escrow payment systems like Vouch should be used for payments over the internet to ensure safe and fraud-free transactions.

Unauthorized payment links can be sent to your mobile phone via SMS by fraudsters. In almost every regard, these fake bank URLs look identical to the real thing. The UPI payment app installed on your phone will direct you to that link if you click on it in a hurry and will ask you to choose which apps to debit automatically. You will immediately see the amount get deducted from your UPI app once your permission is granted.

The following tips will help you protect your money against fraud.

  1. In no case do government agencies, banks, or other financial institutions request financial information via SMS. In the case of UPI fraud, you should contact your bank or eWallet company and request the wallet be blocked in order to prevent further losses. 
  2. Police or the cybercrime cell can even be contacted about the incident.
  3. When using the digital payments app, you will probably receive a spam warning. Do not ignore it. The warning would appear if you transact with someone who had been reported earlier.
  4. Using digital escrow platforms as a payment method is preferred. When you pay through an Escrow payment system over the internet, you are not sharing your information with strangers. One such platform for escrow is Vouch
Escrow payment

This is Fraud Story #31. Check back here for more fraud chronicles and scams that you can protect yourself from.

Escrow payment

Safety is not just about protecting your credit or debit card number. It's about having control of your money till you've received the product or service you bought online!


Note: This is a good-faith initiative to educate the world about how to avoid frauds like these. Do you have a fraud that you would like to report? Please write to us at letstalk@iamvouched.com