Impostors may scam UPI users out of their digital money

Impostors may scam UPI users out of their digital money
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14 Mar, 2018

People transferring money digitally through government-backed Unified Payments Interface (UPI) may be targeted by fraudsters posing as company executives or business partners in an attempt to pluck out personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, said an executive of US-based electronic payment services provider ACI Worldwide Inc. in a report.  

“Real-time transactions require real-time fraud prevention. Transactions happen so quickly that you cannot track what is happening,” said Paul Thomalla, global head of corporate relations and development, in a report by The Economic Times. He also said his company had identified a rise in phishing attacks in 2010 after the United Kingdom government rolled out the Faster Payments Service (FPS) that, like UPI, allows direct transfers of money from one account to another.

Although UPI has learnt its lessons from the FPS episode, users still need awareness on impersonation attacks, Thomalla said.

To alert users about fraudulent payments, his firm has an artificial-intelligence system in place. The system can also raise red flags on suspicious activities of merchants.

Last year, market research firm IDC had said that digital payments in India would overtake cash and non-digital payments by 2022. “The payment industry in India is going through gigantic changes. Over the last few years, the tremendous growth in the digital payment space has sparked a passionate debate across the industry. The next several years will see a transformation of how consumers, businesses and the government move money,” said IDC. 

The buzz around Indian digital payments has also lured tech giant Google and Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp to the space. E-commerce companies Amazon and Flipkart have also come up with digital wallets in India to get a piece of the action. 

Intensifying competition has sparked accusations. Last month, digital wallet Paytm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma had insinuated that UPI developer National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) had bent the rules to the advantage of a payments feature rolled out by WhatsApp in beta.

NPCI later said WhatsApp would have to abide by all guidelines once its payments feature comes out of beta.