There’s no doubt that the United Payments Interface or better known as UPI has made digital payments simpler and easier in India. All one needs is a person’s UPI and the money is transferred straight to the bank account of the other party. But it has also fostered plenty of scams, with unscrupulous people trying to take advantage. The latest scam using UPI revolves around the PM CARES FUND with a fake UPI id being floated.
The Press Information Bureau (PIB) has posted on Twitter, alerting users about a fake UPI id being floated, which claims to be linked to the PM CARES Fund. According to the tweet, the correct UPI Id is pmcares@sbi.
A fake id with pmcare@sbi is also floating, which could leave users confused about the correct id to which donations should be made. The fake id is only missing an s in the name.
The Prime Minister’s office has set up an emergency fund, which is a public charitable trust under the name of ‘Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund’. This has been set up keeping in mind the extra-ordinary action required to deal with a national calamity such as the current crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Those who wish to donate can do so by either transferring the amount to the SBI account, which is linked to this fund or making a digital payment via UPI.
Why does the UPI id matter so much?
With UPI, the id is linked to a particular account. When you set up UPI for a bank account, a unique id is created. So if someone wishes to transfer money to you or make a payments request, you need to give them the exact id.
For example, if you bank with HDFC Bank, you will find, and your name is abcd, you can create an UPI id as follows abcd@hfdbcbank. If someone enters the wrong id when making a transfer, you will not get the amount and it might actually go to someone else who has a similar id, with just a slight difference in spelling.
In this case the correct id is pmcares@sbi, and one needs to make sure they transfer the amount to this id without any errors. The pmcare@sbi has obviously been created by scamsters who are hoping to capitalise on the situation, who have named it is very similar to the real id.
Tips for staying safe when using UPI
As we have pointed out in the past, UPI has become a good medium for some to exploit users who might not be so digitally savvy. When making a transfer using UPI, there are a few tips to keep in mind.
First, double check the id. If you are transferring money to someone or to a charity, make sure you are sending to the right account. The exact spelling is crucial.
Second, if you received payment requests from unknown numbers on your UPI app like Google Pay or PhonePe, it is best to ignore them and block these. Unless the payment request comes from someone who know, do not hit pay and enter your UPI pin.
Third, make sure the code for your UPI app is secure and so is your UPI pin. All UPI-based apps require that you create a login code each time you open the app, and it is best to use a unique code for these. The UPI pin is what authorises each payment, so make sure this is also a secret and you don’t share it with anyone.
Fourth, if unsure when using any of these UPI-based apps, ask for help from someone you trust, especially if you are not familiar with a language. There are a number of UPI apps which come with multiple language options, so keep that in mind.