Google Pay has grown to become one of the widely-used mobile wallets in India, and its rewarding system is a bonus users long for. With each transaction, Google Pay users get a scratch card, which can either win you some money or urge you to try again. But all of this happens from within the app. But a dangerous trend has set in motion where in scammers are using Google Pay scratch cards idea to skim money off of users.
Google Pay scratch card scam
It is common to get spam and they are no longer limited to emails. WhatsApp and other social media apps are often used to spread spam, which tricks users into believing it to be the real deal. A similar trend has started in the context of Google Pay scratch card.
A user receives a message with a link to a third-party website with a promise of winning guaranteed money. When the user clicks on the link, it redirects to a website with a scratch card mimicking the design of Google Pay scratch card. IBTimes reviewed the said URL and found it to be uncanny.
Now, the user scratches the card, which reveals the reward and the next step is where the trick happens. It says the next step is to click on the button that reads: "Send price money directly in your bank."
Now, anyone who has used Google Pay scratch card would know that simply by scratching the card will deposit the money to the account without having to do anything else. But in this case, the user is asked to go to the next step, which is the first red flag.
Assuming the user clicks on the button, he or she is presented with multiple payment options, including Paytm, Google Pay, PhonePe and other banking apps you might have on the phone. Once you select any app, it then takes you to the respective bank app or mobile wallet to complete the transaction.
Users are then prompted to click "Pay", which generally shouldn't be the case if you're actually sending the money to your own bank account. Looking closely, the account number is of a different person, which means you will actually send the money to a random stranger who's trying to skim money off you.
How to prevent such scams
The best possible way to stay clear of such scams is to always use official apps for any transactions. Never click on links send to you via WhatsApp, email or any social media apps. Always make sure the websites you're interacting with, especially in case of money matters, there's an HTTPS prefix. Always use trusted sources, never share your banking information with anyone.