India’s largest and only profitable payments bank Paytm Payments Bank (PPB) is leading the fight against the online fraudsters damaging the digital payments ecosystem in the country. In a series of meetings with officials from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and CERT-in; PPB charted out and explained the various phishing and fraudulent mobile phone SMS and call scams affecting digital payments users. In its discussions with the authorities, the company has made it clear that these frauds erode the trust of millions of Indians. Banks like Paytm Payments Bank can identify the phone numbers of these fraudsters, future frauds and scams can be prevented with proactive involvement of law enforcement, regulators and all telecom operators in the country.
PPB has submitted a comprehensive list of 3,500 phone numbers to TRAI, MHA, and CERT-in, which have been actively involved in SMS and call scams. To further ensure the security of digital payments users, PPB has filed an FIR against these criminals with Cyber Cell for an immediate action to stop this scam. The payments bank in its conversations with the authorities has emphasized the need for timely and effective legal action to end this menace with the involvement and support of telecom operators.
Satish Gupta, MD & CEO – Paytm Payments Bank said, “Fighting cyber fraud requires the concentrated effort of everyone in the ecosystem including financial institutions, telcos, police machinery as well as the government. We are extremely happy to see the proactiveness shown by TRAI and MHA in this regard. They have been supporting us in our endeavours to give millions of Indians a safe digital payments experience. We are committed to ensuring that we block as many fraudsters and will continue to enhance our app security so that there’s no stone left unturned towards safe digital payments experience.”
PPB has also given a list of SMS ‘Shortcodes’ to MHA, TRAI, and CERT-in where the name of the company’s brand has been falsely used in the sender identification details of SMSes. Fraudsters send SMSes with shortcodes like “PYTM” to gain trust of the victim, and then defraud them. A list of ‘Shortcodes’ that need to be blocked as well as the company’s correct header ‘iPaytm’ has been submitted with TRAI. The company has requested TRAI to prohibit telcos from using/selling any ‘Shortcode’ similar to the word “Paytm” such as “PYTM” or anything that is similarly written.
During discussions with authorities, it was also suggested that telecom operators who sell bulk SMS services should follow well defined stringent Know your business (KYB) process. “This should include a detailed on-boarding process and proper documentation. On non-adherence to the processes, there should be a provision of stringent fines and other penal measures. Telecom operators must be required to allow traceability of the source of fraudulent bulk SMSs so that the affected companies can take legal action against the fraudsters,” added Mr. Gupta.
PPB also discussed with TRAI the need to give financial institutions the authority to raise requests with telcos for the immediate blocking of phone numbers and shortcodes sending fraudulent SMSes. “Telecom operators should be directed to have stringent control on the issuance of Shortcodes for bulk messages to companies. There is also a need to blacklist companies permitting such SMSes to be sent,” said Mr. Gupta.