UPI scams on the rise: Here’s how you can protect yourself in 2024

With increasing reliance on digital transactions, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has become a popular and convenient method for money transactions. However, this convenience also comes with the risk of fraud. As we step into 2024, it’s crucial to be proactive in protecting financial information and ensuring a secure digital payment experience. There are several ways you can protect yourself in 2024 or any time from various potential risks: 

PIN protection: Keep your digital devices updated with the latest security patches, use strong, unique passwords, and be cautious about sharing personal information online. Shikhar Aggarwal, Chairman of BLS E-Services, said, “Avoid sharing your UPI PIN, Password, or OTP with anyone in person, over phone calls, emails, or text messages to prevent unauthorised access and potential UPI fraud.” 

Vigilance against scams: Be wary of phishing emails, suspicious links, and unsolicited requests for personal information. Double-check the legitimacy of requests before responding or sharing any sensitive information. Besides, regularly review and update your privacy settings on social media platforms and other online accounts to control what information is shared and with whom. 

Use two-factor authentication: Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for your UPI transactions. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification. “You must secure your UPI PIN enabling two-factor authentication, monitor transactions, use trustworthy apps, change passwords regularly, and remain alert to phishing attempts,” said Animesh Jha- Vice President, Engineering – Fraud & Risk Management, Wibmo, A PayU company. 

Aggarwal said, “You must be aware of the fake UPI social media handles and fake UPI Apps set up by fraudsters. Always verify these carefully before sharing any of your credentials. Regularly monitor your transaction details to check for suspicious activity through your UPI. Only transact with trusted individuals or verified services using UPI.” Remember, your bank or government institution will never ask for your UPI credentials through their call centre. 

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Use a secure network: Avoid conducting financial transactions over public Wi-Fi networks or unsecured connections. Use trusted and safe networks when making UPI payments. 

Transaction alerts: Enable transaction alerts on your UPI app and monitor your account regularly for unauthorised transactions. If you notice any suspicious activity, report it immediately to your bank or the concerned authorities. 

Report suspicious activity: In case of suspicious transactions or UPI frauds, report the incident to your bank’s customer care department, complain to your local police station, or register a complaint with the cybercrime portal. If the matter remains unresolved, you may follow RBI guidelines for reporting the issue to your UPI App’s customer care and report to the RBI ombudsman. 

Thus, by staying cautious, verifying sources, and adopting secure practices while using UPI for transactions, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to scams. Always prioritise your security and be careful of unusual requests or communications about your financial information. 

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