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Online frauds, including QR Code scams, are rising. Here’s how to stay safe

The digital age has offered a lot of conveniences, especially when it comes to online payments. More and more users now use payment apps and online banking to shop, pay bills, and transfer money. However, this has also increased cyber fraud. Here are a few practices to follow so that you don’t fall prey to any cyber scams.

Avoid scanning QR codes – QR codes are now used across retail stores for payment – just scanning the QR code lets you directly transfer money from your account to the merchant. However, a scammer can also use QR codes to transfer money from your account to theirs from any payment app such as Paytm, Gray, PhonPe, etc.

As a practice, avoid scanning QR codes sent by an unknown person or a third-party app for any transaction. If you have to transfer money for any online purchase, choose to type in the phone number or UPI id of the person you want to send the money to – you will be in more control of the entire transaction.

Do not click on unknown links – Another common scam is using click-bait links to gain access to your device or personal details. In this scam, you get a message or email from random numbers with a notification that could be for account blocked, winning a lucky draw, unauthorized purchases on your card, and so on.

The message is usually accompanied by a link that opens up a spoof website that looks like your bank login page. Once you put in in your login details, the scammers/hackers get your username and password and can then use that to withdraw or transfer funds. To avoid falling for a scam like this, avoid clicking on links from unknown senders. Instead, open your financial institution’s website directly or call the customer care number to check if they have tried to reach you for any reason.

However, to quickly identify scam calls, we highly recommend using the Truecaller app. The app identifies incoming calls, and if it’s been reported as a scam/spam number, the caller’s details are shown in a red box. If you see a red box in the caller ID – you can directly disconnect the call instead of falling for any fraud.

Check Third-Party Apps – There are millions of apps available for your smartphone today. While downloading an app, you should check details about the App developer and see the app reviews. There have been instances where scammers offered fake apps with Co-Win in its name for booking vaccine appointments.

Using the app, the scammers asked for upfront payment for appointments as well as personal details. As a practice, if you are looking for an app from a financial institution or an established entity, always verify it is from an official source before downloading.

Verify Customer Care numbers – Whenever calling a customer care number, always verify that you take the number from the brand’s official website. Calling a number by searching on the Internet can result in you losing money to a scammer posing as a customer care executive. Also, keep in mind that the majority of the customer care centers will never ask for your details or ask for any upfront payment from you.

What to do if you get scammed

If you end up losing money to a scammer, then there are only a few options available. First, use the help section in your payment app to report the fraudulent transaction.

The second step is to report the incident to your state’s Cyber Crime cell. Delhi has Similarly, other states would have their cyber cells where you can report the fraud.

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