UC Browser Scam Alert: Customers Get Conned By Fake Flipkart & Paytm Ads

Time and again online buyers have been duped by phishing sites. The latest one which has led everyone to debate on browser security lapses is a twitter post by a tech expert Kartic Rakhra. He experienced first hand for the first time and detailed it out in multiple tweets.

The fraud was discovered when Rakhra’s “grandfathers attendant (in his early 20s) came to me to asking why @Flipkart was only allowing him use @Paytm to make a purchase.”

The requirement of using payment mode as Paytm only on Flipkart triggered the alarm forcing Rakhra to troubleshoot whether “Bharat” was getting duped. It is a known fact that buyers on Flipkart and Amazon platforms cannot make a payment from the Paytm wallet directly.

While looking into the issue of his attendant, he found that “Bharat” was getting directed to a phishing app via an advertisement. The site was customized for “Bharat” users when opened on the UC browser. It had the look and feel of desi Flipkart with identical logos. It was luring customers by offering deep discounts (more than 90%) on popular brands. In return, they were demanding an advance via Paytm. These ‘deals of the day are enticing enough to trap anyone who is not aware of cybercriminals roaming on the internet.

Flipkart has acknowledged the increasing incidents of rampant online scams. It has constituted a dedicated Brand Protection Council to “assess, monitor, report and take legal action against perpetrators of such fraudulent activities as well as take preventive measures through systems, technologies and customer education.”

Post the incident, the UC browser has also confirmed that it has taken down the ad which was misusing the legal rights and interests of buyers. “Launched an internal review of the advertising mechanism that led to this. User experience and benefit remain our top priority,” said UC ads team.

Taking advantage of the ignorance of buyers, there has been a surge in online scammers specifically from India. The country is progressing towards becoming a cybercriminal hub in global e-commerce. Its popularity can be judged by the attention it got on the Canadian CBC show and now Netflix is also coming up on similar grounds.

The eCommerce setups are taking necessary mitigation steps to put these online scams in check. A joint case study with the action plans was submitted to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) a few months back. It has become all the more inevitable to build cybercrime task force with global coordination.

The best way to prevent getting conned is by being careful while ordering from sites. Ensure it must be an HTTPS link and in common man’s term – it should have a lock-in in front of the link.

Written by Rashmi


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