Millennium Post

Fake e-wallets looming threat for consumers' money

Digital payments have gained popularity among consumers but have also brought in the threat of cybercriminals placing fake e-wallet apps to dupe users.

According to cybersecurity solution firm Kaspersky, no such incident has been reported yet but the probability of cybercriminals adding fake apps on app stores remains high.

"Digital payment companies ensure that the transactions are safe on their apps. Besides, there are checks like two-factor authentication for ensuring secure transactions for consumers," Altaf Halde, Managing Director at Kaspersky Lab, South Asia, said.

In such a scenario, cybercriminals could look at tricking consumers into downloading fake apps that look almost like the genuine one, allowing a backdoor entry into their smartphone.

While financial institutions like banks and mobile m-wallet companies take steps to protect customer information, users also need to take precautions as negative experiences could lead to losing trust in digital transactions.

The government's move to demonetise high-value currency notes in November last year has given a massive push towards adoption of digital payment methods including credit/debit/ Rupay cards, UPI and mobile wallets.

The government had also launched BHIM app to facilitate e-payments. Launched on December 30, the app has already been adopted by over 125 lakh people.

"The convenience that digital payments bring is massive.

However, there are also risks involved. Consumers need to be informed and careful when they download app. They should ensure they are downloading the genuine apps and not the fake ones," he said.

Asked how consumers could spot the fake apps, Halde said the fake ones "almost resemble the real ones but there is still a difference".

"The logo might look exactly same but the spelling might be different. The key is to carefully check before downloading just any app," he added.

Besides, consumers should install security solutions on their phones.

"Consumers should install security solutions on their phones just like they would on their PCs. Since a large number of consumers now carry out
financial transactions through their smartphones, it is important that they protect it," Halde said.

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