Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week launched a common UPI app, called BHIM, which stands for Bharat Interface for Money. Since its launch, the Android app has been gaining popularity with more than 3 million downloads and has also hit the top charts on Google Play Store. While the app is growing in popularity, the Play Store is getting flooded with multiple fake versions of the BHIM app.
Multiple could be an underrated word, as there are more than 40 fake versions on Google Play Store. It’s a common thing to see fake versions of a new or popular app on Android, but fake versions of BHIM is bit more serious as it involves financial transactions and your private data. When you type ‘BHIM’ on Google Play Store, the authentic app shows up on top of the list but as you scroll down, you are bombarded with the numerous never ending fake BHIM apps. Some of the notable fake BHIM apps include “*99# BHIM UPI Bank No Internet”, “BHIM payment updater 2017”, “Bhim Banking”, “BHIM *99# For All Banks”, “Bhim 2017”, “Bhim All Banking” and the list goes on.
What’s more baffling is that these fake apps have actually garnered downloads in thousands. Going through the comments section on these apps, it appears people have actually used the app for money transfers and payments. There have also been complaints about these fake BHIM app users saying that their phone numbers are not registered in the app, and that the apps are causing multiple SMS charges and more. Some of the fake BHIM apps were even available in Hindi language thereby catching a much larger target in the country.
There were some people though who recognized that these are fake BHIM apps, and even pointed out in the comments section. Apart from the fake apps, there are many apps which pose as ‘guides’ to using the BHIM app and how to go about it. There are also many troll apps for PM Modi’s BHIM app.
For those who are still unaware of the authentic BHIM app, it is the first app that shows up when searched for in Google Play Store. It is advisable to download the app straight from Google Play Store and not through any third-party source. The creator of the authentic BHIM app is National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which is also mentioned in the description. The logo of the app is two triangles placed sideways in green and orange color on the backdrop which is white in color. There is no text in the logo either. Any other app posing to be the BHIM app but is not developed by NPCI is a fake one. ALSO READ: PM Narendra Modi launches BHIM app for mobile payments; here’s how it works
Given the meteroic growth in the number of digital transactions post demonetization, chances of hackers snooping in are also highly likely. It’s best to be aware of these fake apps and make sure to download the original app.