Cybercriminals float fake UPI IDs under the pretext of PM Cares relief fund for COVID-19

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 30, 2020 Published on March 30, 2020

State Bank of India (SBI) and the Press Information Bureau (PIB) have cautioned citizens of fake Unified Payments Interface (UPI) ID being circulated in the guise of Prime Minister’s relief fund for fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Multiple false UPI IDs are being circulated under the pretext of relief funds for COVID-19. The Press Information Bureau’s fact-checking wing on Sunday tweeted the correct UPI link for PM Modi’s PM Cares relief fund cautioning netizens of the fake IDs being circulated across platforms after a Twitter user alerted SBI of the same.

“Beware of Fake UPI ID being circulating on the pretext of PM CARES Fund. #PIBFactcheck: The correct UPI ID of #PMCaresFunds is pmcares@sbi,” PIB Fact Check captioned a snapshot of the fake ID on Twitter.

PM Modi on Saturday had announced the creation of a relief fund for coronavirus related assistance and emergencies where citizens can make donations for the same.

“Keeping in mind the need for having a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected, a public charitable trust under the name of ‘Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund’ (PM CARES Fund)’ has been set up. Prime Minister is the Chairman of this trust and its Members include Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister,” the PMO had said in an official statement.

From India Inc, Bollywood stars to sportsmen, multiple celebrities have pledged huge amounts to the fund post its launch.

Citizens can make micro-donations as well using various payment methods including Debit Cards and Credit Cards. Internet Banking, UPI (BHIM, PhonePe, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, PayTM, Mobikwik, etc.) and RTGS/NEFT.

Citizens and organisations can also contribute through the website

Cybercrimes in the time of corona

This is not the first instance of cyberthreat disguised as helpful coronavirus-related information. In an interview with the Economic Times, India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) in Prime Minister’s Office, Lt General Rajesh Pant had cautioned citizens of cybercriminals taking advantage of the current situation and had said that the cybercrime department has a mitigation team in place to tackle such cybersecurity issues.

Over 4,000 fraud portals and malicious websites related to the coronavirus pandemic have emerged over the last two months, he had said.

Last week, Delhi police’s cybercrime unit had also issued a list of malicious and “potentially dangerous” websites claiming to be those providing helpful information about COVID-19.

Last week, India’s computer emergency response team had issued an advisory on cyber attacks related to the coronavirus pandemic, as per the ET report.

Published on March 30, 2020

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