Edited screen shots being used to scam people and how to prevent it

The use of digital payment systems has increased along with the acceptance of the QR code payment system. Retailers and restaurant owners have fallen prey to fraudulent acts as a result of such digitized payment systems.

The Royal Monetary Authority’s Annual Report 2021 claimed that Internet banking and mobile banking dominate the current payment ecosystem. The usage of QR codes and payment gateways substantially helps the growth of mobile and online banking transactions.

People frequently use MBoB or MPay to pay in eateries, markets, and even taxis. Due to their growing popularity, it has given rise to scammers. A group of boys managed to scam Apple Solutions and Pema Import House a huge amount of money.

So far, there have been only two reported cases to the police of such fraudulent practices from 2022, and many cases have gone either unreported or unknown.

Pem Dorji of Pema Import House said that he has reported the crime to the police. “They used the Photoshop App to edit the screenshot and took products worth Nu 45,000. It is really impossible to know whether we are scammed or not because the screenshot was well edited. I was suspicious of it because the group of young boys took products worth Nu 45,000.”

Speaking with some shop owners, they said that their hectic schedules prevent them from doing thorough checks, and that bank system flaws can cause certain scams to go unreported and undetected.

According to a shopkeeper at Zeeling shop, customers hardly use cash to shop these days. “Customers mostly use QR code payment and we hardly see cash. When I check the screenshot, it’s usually the date, the shop name and the reference number.”

The screenshot taken is easily edited by scammers, and shopkeepers have no idea of it. Store owners agreed that it is difficult to tell if they have been defrauded or not. They agree that the interbank credit system has issues, as credit amount can sometimes take time to be updated, especially when they are busy attending to customers.

Retailers don’t know if they are being scammed with all the unknowns and scams going on, especially regarding small amounts of money. It is challenging to keep track of every transaction through the day, especially at peak shopping hours.

In order to combat such fraudulent occurrences, the Bhutan National Bank (BNB) has taken the effort to introduce a product to put an end to such practices.

BNB will be providing a solution in the form of QR Soundbox, an audio assisted smart device that provides instant notification when a payment is received.

According to Dorji Namgyal Rinchen, Director of Customer Experience, the QR Soundbox will help with fraudulent practices. “The BNB QR Soundbox will give real time audio payment confirmation for transactions done via QR codes. Therefore, there will be no need to double check payment statuses.”

“As it is not possible for shopkeepers to validate each transaction, the QR Soundbox will verify whether a transaction is successful whenever a payment is done through scanning with a loud alert. We believe that this initiative will help against fraudulent practices,” he added.

The QR Soundbox offers SIM based and WiFi connectivity. The cost for the BNB QR Soundbox to the shopkeepers will be a one-time cost with no monthly charges.

Nearly 68 of them have already taken on the QR Soundbox, indicating the effort is already getting favorable feedback. Retailers deem it a worthwhile endeavor and express their belief that it will greatly benefit them.

Starting on 14 February 14th, the QR Soundbox will be available in market and will function with all banks QR Code payment system.

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