Fraud alert: Airtel users should not download third-party apps, here is why

Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal has warned subscribers about cyber frauds which are rising amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter addressed to Airtel’s subscribers Vittal highlighted the methods in which fraudsters are luring customers into spending on VIP numbers or downloading third-party applications which allow hackers to retrieve the OTP from users when they make payment.

He also mentioned that cyber-frauds are on the rise as now more people are using online transactions in the face of the pandemic “With the growing second wave of the pandemic and lockdowns in various parts of the country, there has been a massive increase in online transactions. Unfortunately, there has also been a corresponding increase in Cyber fraud,” Vittal stated in the letter.

The announcement comes days after the Airtel CEO had warned subscribers about fraudsters who pretend to be Airtel customer support executives asking users to complete their KYC by downloading a QuickSupport App from Google Play Store.

When users install this app, they are taken to the TeamViewer QuickSupport app which enables fraudsters to remotely control the device as well as accounts associated with the device. “And so, if the customer does install it, they allow the fraudster into all their accounts connected to the device,” the CEO stated.

“Please note that Airtel does not sell VIP numbers on the phone and will never ask you to download any third-party apps. In both instances, please immediately call 121 to confirm. In fact, I would say when in doubt simply call 121,” Vittal said.

He has also asked customers to leverage the recently released ‘Airtel Safe Pay.’ Safe Pay has been developed to protect users from potential frauds like phishing, stolen passwords, and also phone cloning with the help of two-factor authentication.

Safe Pay can be leveraged by users through the Airtel Payments Bank accounts. The Airtel Payments Bank account comes with a maximum balance limit of Rs 1 lakh and it can be linked with any UPI app in case users do not intend to reveal their primary bank account.