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Explained: The Paytm spoof app fraud in which 3 persons were arrested in Mumbai

The police has arrested three people in Mumbai for using an app which looks very similar to Paytm to con merchants. What is the spoof Paytm app scam, and how does it work?

Written by Mohamed Thaver , Edited by Explained Desk | Mumbai |
Updated: January 12, 2022 3:32:08 pm
The design of the fake app is very similar to Paytm. (Reuters Photo/File)

Last week, the Sakinaka police arrested three persons for allegedly trying to pay a bill of Rs 49,000 at a restaurant by using a fake Paytm app. However, thanks to the alert owner, an FIR was registered and the trio arrested.

What is the spoof Paytm app scam, and how does it work?

The Sakinaka police in Andheri on Friday arrested three youngsters for trying to cheat a restaurant owner by claiming they had paid a bill through Paytm. The money, however, was never credited to the hotel’s bank account.

It was only when one of the accused, Ayush Jagdale (20), returned to the restaurant and tried making another payment in a similar manner, was he arrested. Along with him, two others, who had made a total payment of Rs 49,400 using the fake app, were arrested.

The trio were using an app which resembles the original Paytm app. In this case, all one has to do is feed in the merchant’s name, his mobile number and the amount that has to be paid.

The app then shows that the payment is made, even though no such transaction has taken place. The design of the app is very similar to the original Paytm app. Fraudsters show the merchant the page, tell them the payment has been made and will appear in their account in some time, and flee.

Are there more cases?

Apart from the Sakinaka case, there are several videos of similar incidents online, where shop owners have caught people for using the spoof app.

How can one be protected from getting conned in this manner?

The simplest method is to ensure you check whether the payment has been transferred to your account before letting the person go.

Generally, when such transactions take place, the merchants get an SMS from Paytm, and there are in-app notifications through the Paytm for Business app. Apart from this, Paytm also has a Paytm Sound Box that gives instant audio confirmations whenever a payment is made.  An official said these methods should be used by people to ensure they are not cheated.

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