Pandemic gives rise to online payment fraud

Pandemic gives rise to online payment fraud

Since Covid-19 began spreading around the world, online payments fraud is a bigger business than ever. Far from “self-isolating,” online fraudsters are seeing a contactless mode of payment as an opportunity to take advantage of Indian customers whose on-the-ground reliance on cash has been upended.

A recent study by a UK-based market research firm YouGov and NASDAQ-listed ACI Worldwide revealed that nearly half of the Indian consumers are more concerned about digital payments fraud now than when Covid-19 first emerged.

Almost 32 per cent of the consumers have changed their behaviour and increased their usage of digital payments via credit and debit card, mobile wallet and other UPI-based payment methods.

About 31 per cent of the consumers have been a recent victim of a card or digital payment fraud or know someone, who has been an unsuspecting victim, among their immediate family or friends.

Among them, 17 per cent of those frauds have been within the last 30 days, the report added.

The report indicated that the vulnerability to online fraud remains the biggest consumer concern. This is followed by the risk of failed attempts to transact, insufficient internet connectivity, and concerns about data privacy.

Other major concerns include fake apps and websites, compromised passwords, credential information, and spyware.

Interestingly, consumers’ faith in Indian banks is intact as, in case of online fraud, a majority of 60 per cent of respondents said that they would first call their bank to block their account, and only 12 per cent said that they would first report fraudulent activity to the police or a cybercrime unit.

Health departments and experts across the country have been repeatedly asking people to avoid touching cash and use digital payments instead. Currency notes can be a major cause of worry owing to risk of contamination, they said.

Meanwhile, India’s leading digital payments and financial services platform Paytm has witnessed a rise in digital transactions amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis and the subsequent lockdown.

According to statement issued by Paytm, the company witnessed 200 per cent increase in broadband and data card bill payments, along with a 42 per cent increase in mobile recharges and a 30 per cent increase in spends on groceries during the lockdown.

The statement added that with more people emphasizing on contactless payments, there has been a 20 percent increase in incoming requests from offline merchants to partner with Paytm.

Paytm recently revamped its app to prioritize payments of utility bills to include mobile and DTH recharge, electricity, water, gas, credit card and insurance premium payment, among others.