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How can payment frauds be reduced during Covid-19?

Ashish M. Shaji

| Updated: Jul 29, 2020 | Category: Digital Banking, Risk & Assurance

Payment frauds

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the normal course of life for many people across the globe. The way they conduct their businesses has also changed. With the social distancing norms and the fear of this contagious Covid-19, there has been a significant rise in people shifting to the digital method of payment. However, it has increased the risk of payment frauds. 

Types of payment frauds during these times of Covid-19

Fraudsters have found a considerable playfield and have sensed a window of opportunity with more people stepping into the digital landscape. They found different methods of executing their malicious purposes. These methods include the following:

  • Ransomware attacks

There has been an increase in ransomware payments by businesses. Spam attacks related to the outbreak have surged, and work from home network configurations has led to a rise in ransomware attacks.

  • Phishing scams

This has become one of the most popular forms of executing payment fraud. In this, the scammers send users unauthorized payment links through SMS that are deceptively similar to the original URL. Once the user clicks on that link, it will direct them to their UPI payment app, and when the user allows permission for debit, the amount is debited from the app.

  • Scams through disclosure of sensitive information such as PIN and OTP

In this, a bank account holder is lured into revealing his or her confidential payment information such as PIN, OTPs, passwords, etc. On receiving such information, the cybercriminals access the account and use the information to steal money.

  • Spurious Apps

There are instances where the user is tricked into downloading apps that are unsafe, and these apps can give access to sensitive information stored on the devices. There are many counterfeit apps that look similar to original apps, which are made by scammers to trick users.

How can these payment frauds be reduced?

The payment fraud has become more usual now, considering the number of people who have shifted to the digital arena. People are reluctant to visit bank branches in person because of the fear surrounding the pandemic and also due to the convenience offered by the digital method of payment.

So now it brings us to the question, how these payment frauds can be reduced? Well, the following measures can be the answer to it:

Payment Frauds
  • Download only the trusted apps

Make sure that when you download any app, download only from trusted sources, be it from play store or apple store. Never download apps that are suggested by strange sources. Always research apps before downloading them into your system because apps can access your files and folders.

  • Never share your confidential information

You should never share your confidential information such as PIN, OTPs, passwords, etc. with anyone. Fraudsters adopt a typical modus operandi of calling people pretending to be from banks and ask for their sensitive information. Therefore, beware of such scammers.

  • Execute your transactions from trusted online merchants only

You must always execute your transactions from trusted and certified online merchants. It will ensure that the payment made by you is made securely.

  • Be Aware and vigilant

Awareness is critical for customers. Many customers fall prey to these frauds due to the lack of awareness. They must be aware of the latest fraud trends going around. They must stay vigilant with respect to their accounts, and any suspicious activity must be reported without any delay. More and more awareness camps must be organized, highlighting safe and secure transactions.  

  • Use highly secure anti-virus software

Always use reputed anti-virus software that can alert you in case of any malicious attempt on your system. Research about secure and trusted anti-virus software for your system.

How can technology assist in the fight against payment frauds?

There are some security measures powered by cutting edge technologies that can assist in reducing such frauds in these times.

Some of these technologies include:

Security Measures Powered by Cutting Edge Technologies
  • AI and Machine learning

Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning can help in identifying fraudulent patterns in the transaction history and also help in checking the authenticity of the transactions. It can help in taking preventive actions in real-time.

  • Network Tokenization

It is a technological measure where a card number is shielded when it is replaced by an exclusive series of numbers called token. This replaced token has no value outside the merchant channel, thereby securing the entire transaction.

  • Biometric authentication

Biometric authentication is one of the measures that can be adopted to eliminate payment fraud. Application of biometrics in digital payment channels can help in verifying the identity of original customers.

  • Blockchain

Blockchain, by augmentation of real-time transaction data sharing and by establishing an agreement of all parties, helps in reducing or, in fact, can eliminate frauds. Many anti-fraud professionals have suggested the use of blockchain technology.

What measures have been taken by the Reserve bank of India considering increasing payment frauds?

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had recently issued a notification owing to an increase in such frauds. In the notification, it asked all authorized payment operators and participants of the payment system to enhance public awareness through multiple channels.

RBI also stated how it has been raising awareness in this regard by way of e-BAAT (electronic Banking Awareness and Training) programs and organizing campaigns promoting the safe use of digital payment modes.

It has advised all authorized payment operators and participants of the payment system to undertake targeted multi-lingual campaigns through SMS, advertisements, etc. thereby educating users on safe usage of digital payments.

Conclusion

We are living in unprecedented times such as these, where no one knows what the future holds. Therefore what we can do is controlling the present wisely so that the future may look bright. Financial institutions and customers’ support together can help to overcome the quandary called payment frauds.

Also, read: How Blockchain Technology will Revolutionize Finance and Auditing?

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Ashish M. Shaji

Ashish M. Shaji has done his graduation in law (BA. LLB) from CCS University. He has keen interests in doing extensive research and writing on legal subjects especially on criminal and corporate law. He is a creative thinker and has a great interest in exploring legal subjects.

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