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Merchants get duped by ‘Paytm prank app’ in Hyderabad


India is currently trying to grapple with fake news circulated via social media. It is tough to control fake news when people deliberately push it to further their vested interest. In a similar way, fake apps available on Android and iOS platforms have been wrecking havoc for both companies and consumers.

Despite initiatives from Google and Apple to remove such apps from their respective platforms, the market for fake apps has been escalating with every passing day.

In a shocking incident, some people used a fake app of none other than payments-major Paytm, to dupe shopkeepers by showing fake payments id after the purchase of several items.

According to a Deccan Chronicle report, a case was registered by Hyderabad task force to probe the case. During the investigation, they founded that, the crooks used to download the app available on Google Play Store meant for pranking people.

Dubbed as ‘Prank Paytm’, the app shows a message mimicking the original Paytm alert saying that the payment has been made. However, during tallying the shopkeepers found that no such payments have been received from their end.

The probe also revealed that when a user downloads the prank app, a warning message is displayed to users informing them that the app is intended to prank friends. The app also warns users would have the sole responsibility for any misuse of the app.

The task force is also searching out the details of developer and promoters of the app. Interestingly, soon after the incident came to light, the app has been modified and has also restricted its downloads.

However, fake apps related to Paytm are still available on Google Play Store.

This is a major concern for the Alibaba-backed company who had a similar experience in the past. Two recent cases involving a former Paytm employee and another person, have already surfaced where they impersonated a Paytm executive to dupe customers which raised an alarm about the privacy and security of customers.

Fake apps or prank app of payments platforms such as Paytm, PhonePe, FreeCharge, Mobikwik and to be launched WhatsApp UPI are used to misguide people.

Over the past several months, cases of fake apps that create confusion have been reported. Soon after media reports of the launching of its own cryptocurrency, JioCoin, by Reliance, a series of fake apps started to lure people with investments plans.

Recently, Kimbho app, which was launched by Patanjali also faced a number of clone apps available on Google Play Store.

In a major crackdown to counter malicious or bad apps, Google had removed such 700,000 apps from its Play Store platform in 2017. Tech giant Apple had also taken steps to curb such apps but it will take more time to control such incidents in the future.

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