The Covid-19 pandemic has played an important role in boosting digital payments, with individuals avoiding physical interactions to stay safe. It caused people to learn about online banking and become cashless. While this has made paying bills at home easier, online fraud has also increased, especially to target new users of these technologies. So it’s no wonder that a new PayTM cashback scam is circulating.
The latest scam comes in the form of a random Chrome notification saying “Congratulations! you won the Paytm scratch card. A lot of people don’t think twice about opening a link offering tempting cashbacks that others click just because of their curiosity. This specific notification redirects us to a site called paytm-cashoffer.com.
It claims that the user won a cashback of Rs 2,647 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 hit the send button, you are taken to the original Paytm app, where the person is asked to “pay” the same amount. Many won’t notice it’s a “Pay” button – tapping into the user’s psychology that makes them ignore what they think is routine.
The scam clearly hits those who are unaware of how a UPI-based app works. If the UPI payment app is not installed on your phone, this trick will not work on you.
The link gave us different cashback offers each time we tried. But it only works on a mobile phone and not on a PC.
It is important to note that Paytm will never send you a refund offer through any other platform. You will still notice the cash back 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 past 15 months, 25% of B2C scams were identified in KYC and 20% in QR codes, according to TrustCheckr, a fraud data analysis and analysis company. Paytm claims that its app can immediately identify and block suspicious activity using AI and notify if a user has installed apps that put their account at risk. The company says it has “the best-in-class cybersecurity team to report fraudulent notifications and alert telecom authorities, banks, and cyber cells.”
Beware of QR / UPI code fraud
If you want to sell something online, no matter what the other person says, don’t hit the “pay” button in the hopes of receiving the money. For example, Paytm (for businesses) allows a user to send “request money” links to the customer and the user only has to authorize this transaction by pressing the “pay” button. Scammers can cook up stories to convince you that you will only get money when you press that button.
You should never accept payment via QR codes (sent over WhatsApp) if they are selling something online. For example, you want to sell your laptop. Scammers will first try to convince you that they want to buy it immediately and reserve 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 into your bank account. If you are not convinced with the QR code payment system, the person will say that they will send the QR code 1 Rs first, and if it works, they will send the full amount. In order to gain your trust, the scammer will send you the correct QR code and you will get the money.
The second QR code you will receive on WhatsApp will transfer the full amount of your account after scanning it. Since this mode of operation is now quite common, users should be careful about scanning any unknown QR code. When you scan a QR code, it means you are paying money.
A person can even pretend to be an army officer and will make up stories about having a different payment system in the military. It will send you fake ID proofs on WhatsApp to gain your trust and then ask you to scan a QR code if you want to receive money.
If you are dealing with strangers to sell products, you need to be careful of everything they say or do. Also, never trust someone asking you to do something in a UPI app unless you want to send them money.
Paytm: How to report fraud
The option to report digital payment fraud is available in every UPI-based app. If the option is not immediately visible in the app, you can visit the Help and Support section to find it. Here’s how to report fraud on the Paytm app.
Step 1: Tap the profile section in the upper left corner.
2nd step: Tap Help and Support again.
Step 3: Scroll down to find the “Choose a service you need help with” section, then press the “Show all services” button.
Step 4: Scroll down and tap the “Report fraud and transactions” box.
Step 5: Select an issue that describes your issue. You can report a phishing site, a fraudulent transaction, or any other issue.
Step 6: Once you have selected 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 these UPI-based frauds
#Users should never click on an unknown link they receive on WhatsApp or via SMS. If you get any type of banking or cashback offer through these platforms, you should mostly ignore it.
#Keep in mind that you don’t need to press the “Pay” button or enter your UPI PIN to “receive” money. A UPI PIN code is only used to send money or to check the bank balance.
#Avoid sharing your one-time password (OTP) or bank details with anyone.
#Verify the identity of the person before transferring a fund.
#A lot of the posts or website links you get (through different platforms) include hoaxes or fake news. If you look closely, you might notice spelling mistakes, different design, or unusual behavior. Look for these signs in order to verify whether the information provided in the fake link is correct or not.
#Download only reliable and original applications. There are times when an app is not visible to you and you end up downloading a fake which 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 when making any transaction on a UPI-based application.
#If you are in doubt about an unfamiliar URL or link, don’t open it as it could infect your phone with malware that can steal financial information or other data that you may have stored on your phone.