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FASTag smartwatch scam: No person-to-person transactions is possible, NPCI clarifies on fraud claim video

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FASTag

Highlights:

  • A tag called FASTag is installed on vehicles, and it is run by 23 banks under the supervision of NPCI and NHAI.
  • The NPCI has also published a statement, calling the claims “baseless.”
  • Paytm claimed that the video is fake.

A video went viral on social media on Saturday which claims that devices like smartwatches are being used to swipe the FASTag on vehicles, leading to a fraudulent deduction of money from prepaid wallets. The video shows a kid with a smart watch on his wrist cleaning a car window. While cleaning, the kid appears to be scanning the FASTag sticker on the windscreen and siphoning out money from the driver’s account.

FASTag smartwatch scam: How true is this claim?

However, the Centre has denied the possibility of any such scam. “This Video is #FAKE. Such transactions are not possible. Each Toll Plaza has a unique code,” tweeted Press Information Bureau’s (PIB) fact checking arm ‘PIB Fact Check’.

These videos circulating on social media are baseless and false, the National Payments Council of India (NPCI) said in a clarification issued on Twitter. NETC FASTag operates only for person-to-merchant (P2M) transactions. No person-to-person (P2P) transactions are facilitated through NETC FASTag network. This means an individual cannot receive the money in NETC FASTag ecosystem from fraudulent transactions. Only authorised system integrators (SI) on behalf of concessionaires are allowed to participate for specific plazas and initiate payment transactions.

What is Paytm saying?

The video includes two men talking to a boy who wants to clean their car. The young boy quickly wipes the windshield, which has the FASTag sticker on top, but doesn’t take money for cleaning. After realising that the boy did not take money for cleaning and having a smartwatch on his wrist, one of the men starts chasing him. However, the chase was unsuccessful, and the man who remained in the car is now explaining the incident to viewers.

Paytm straight up clarified that the video is fake and the FASTag technology cannot be compromised. On Twitter, the company said, “A video is spreading misinformation that incorrectly shows a smartwatch scanning FASTag. As per NETC [National Electronic Toll Collection] guidelines, FASTag payments can be initiated only by authorised merchants, onboarded after multiple rounds of testing. Paytm FASTag is completely safe and secure”.

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