UPI Payments: Top Security Issues & Possible Way Arounds
UPI stands for Unified Payments Interface, a single umbrella that merges banking features and services from various service providers under it. A UPI app to receive or send money instantly is all a user needs. While UPI payment is swift and convenient to make, it also risks cyber-attacks leading to money and identity thefts.
The increased scope of security issues raises multiple concerns. So, let’s figure out some top security issues with UPI payments and the possible way arounds.
Understand How UPI Works
UPI allows users to send or receive money involving any bank using a single mobile platform. Launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in 2016 and regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), UPI makes digital inter-bank transactions very quick and easy. A user can perform digital payments in just a few clicks using a verified payment app.
Types of UPI Security Issues
An increasing number of UPI transactions in India have led to a significant rise in UPI frauds and complaints, financial attacks, cyber-frauds, hacking, and other security risks. Some common types of security issues are:
Unverified Payment Requests: A user must enter the receiver’s UPI ID or scan their QR code to send them a UPI payment. However, they do not need to scan any code or enter their ID or MPIN while receiving money from them. Hackers trying to steal a user’s money often send them fake payment requests. Once the user clicks on this link, it asks them to scan a code or enter their UPI PIN. Doing so exposes the user’s financial details to the hackers, and they can steal money from the user’s account.
Phishing: A fraudster sends an SMS or email containing an authorised link. Clicking on this link directs the user to a UPI app on their phone and auto-debits money from their account. Such phishing links are highly harmful. Apart from robbing the finances, they also infect the user’s phone with malware and viruses.
Remote Screen Monitoring: Sometimes, users find some attractive or useful apps on the internet and install them on their smartphones without verifying their authenticity. Fraudsters use remote screen monitoring to track users’ browsing activities and suggest such apps based on their interests or requirements. Once the user installs a third-party app, they expose their confidential data to hackers, resulting in UPI fraud.
Fake Calls: Here, a fraudster calls the user pretending to be a bank representative and asks for their UPI PIN for verification purposes. Some ask the user to download an app, with which they gain access to the user’s phone and steal their account details and confidential data.
Possible Way Arounds to Mitigate UPI Security Risks
Use Authentic Apps Only: Never download third-party apps from unverified sources. Always install a UPI app from Google Play Store or Apple App Store only.
Keep Things Confidential: Do not disclose details like their UPI PIN, card number, CVV, or passwords to anyone. Putting locks on digital apps enhances security.
Verify Contacts: Never respond to unverified calls or messages from people calling themselves bank representatives. Decline any payment requests from unknown UPI accounts.
Enhance Browsing Security: Always look for customer care numbers from the company’s official website only. Illegitimate numbers on Google may look official, but maybe not. Calling them may lead the user to fake call centres operated by fraudsters.
In case of fraud, log in to the UPI app and report it through the Help section. A user must keep these points in mind while making a UPI payment. It’s great to enjoy the convenience of digital transactions, but avoiding scams is essential to keep the finances safe.