Hyderabad: Crooks are resorting to fake apps like ‘prank Paytm’ to con shopkeepers and merchandise owners in Hyderabad. The conmen have walked away with their shopping bags by showing a screen which says that the payment has been done.
Explaining how it is done, an officer of the commissioner’s task force said, “After shopping, they pretend to be using the PayTM app on their phones to pay the bill. They enter the details in the prank version, which shows a message mimicking the original saying that the payment has been made. They show the cashier the message with a fake transaction ID.”
He said during the last couple of months, three supermarkets and two other shops — Heritage Fresh in Jubilee Hills, Himayathnagar and Abids, Firstcry Kids and Almond House at Himayatnagar — were cheated to the tune of `2 lakh using a fake app.
The fraudsters downloaded ‘Prank Paytm’, a fake app, from Google Play Store and deceived traders,” said DCP, Commissioner’s Task Force, P. Radhakrishna Rao. He said the cashier would usually note down the transaction ID before handing over the purchased items.
The fraud came to light only after one of the shopping centres in the city, during tallying, found that the amount was not credited into its account. Its personnel approached the local police and the case was taken up by the Task Force.
During their probe, it came to light that shops in Jubilee Hills, Narayanguda and Abids too were cheated in a similar fashion. “When the Prank Paytm app is downloaded, a warning message is displayed to users informing them that the app is intended to prank friends. It says users would have the sole responsibility for any misuse of the app. There are many such fake mobile apps available online for money transactions.
The details of persons or companies promoting such apps are being verified. However, after information on the app being misused, Prank Paytm was modified and its download restricted by its makers,” the officer said.
Ex-employee cons gullible customers
Some PayTM users are being approached by conmen offering to set up the know-your-customer details on the app. In at least one case, a conman cheated users by making use of the data. The cyber cell police of Rachakonda recently arrested former PayTM employee Anil Kumar for cheating users on the pretext of updating their KYC details.
An officer of the cell said Anil Kumar, 25, a former field executive, fraudulently transferred money from accounts of PayTM users whose details he had secured. Anil Kumar, an engineering graduate, lured app users with payback offers and siphoned funds from their wallets.
“While most customers had reset their PayTM password after Anil Kumar accessed their KYC details, others continued to be logged in with the password set by him. Taking advantage of this, Kumar siphoned off money from their PayTM wallets,” the official said.
In March this year, Kumar contacted Mr Chikatimalla Vinod Kumar, a kirana store owner, and told him about a payback offer. A few days later, he approached Mr Vinod Kumar and said the KYC details needed to be updated. Later, when Mr Vinod Kumar deposited Rs 5,000 in his PayTM wallet, the amount got transferred to another wallet.
Based on technical evidence and clues, Anil Kumar was nabbed by the police. Inquiries revealed that he searched for information on PayTM users who had not logged out of their phones since he verified their account between 2016 and 2017 when he worked at the company. He used such accounts for transferring money to his own personal account. The accused cheated many users by fraudulently transferring their money to his e-wallet....