In yet another case of a scripted video being shared as a real life incident, a video showing a young woman attempting to con a shopkeeper by paying for her purchase using a spoof Paytm app is being widely shared on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. Newschecker found that the video was dramatised and was meant for educational purposes.
Newschecker received several requests on our WhatsApp tipline (+91 9999499044) to fact check the video.
The video shows a young girl purchasing her essentials in a shop. The person behind the camera, who is filming the entire incident from behind a door, is heard informing the viewers that the girl has made several such purchases in the past and paid for them through Paytm that haven’t reflected in their account.
As the customer tries to pay using the app and it fails to reflect yet again, when the man recording the whole incident reveals himself and checks the payment gateway, only to realise that the app being used was a fake, designed to con shopkeepers.
The video was also shared on Twitter and Facebook by several users, including mainstream newspaper Free Press Journal among others.
Newschecker’s investigation found another video of the same nature, where a girl attempts to con another shopkeeper, by attempting to pay through an alleged ‘Paytm spoof app’.
The videos are being shared widely in the backdrop of reports of a Paytm spoof App payment confirmation page reportedly being used to cheat merchants. Acknowledging such incidents and the Paytm spoof app, the company, in a blog advised its merchants to stay alert and listed out several ways they can prevent becoming victims of an online scam.
To check the authenticity of the video, Newschecker looked up the keywords ‘spoof Paytm’’ and found several posts sharing the first video, which shows a young girl attempting to con a merchant using a fake Paytm payment page. The videos linked back to its original source, to the page of one Nishant Soni, who is a popular content creator.
On visiting Nishant Soni’s page, Newschecker found the same video posted on his page on January 3, 2022. The video has seen over 1.3Million likes and has over 45 million views.
Speaking to Newschecker, Soni, the owner of the page said, “The video is dramatised and was meant strictly for educational purposes only. I heard of such instances where a fake Paytm spoof app was being used to generate fabricated payment notifications to cheat shopkeepers. No one would have cared for my message had I made a regular informative video, so I decided to dramatise such an incident.’ When asked if he had personally witnessed any such incident where a Paytm spoof App was used, he said that he had not.
Nishant’s page or the video however, does not carry any disclaimer that it is dramatised and not a real life incident.
Further, Newschecker also traced the source of the second video to the Facebook page of Deepika Shah, another popular content creator. Shah posted the video on December 19 and it has already garnered 11million views and 108k likes.
Deepika has also posted another video on her page, clarifying that the videos she posts on her Facebook page are scripted.
Deepika also confirmed to Newschecker personally that the video is scripted and for educational purposes only.
The same video posted by Deepika was further shared on Twitter, by Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma to exhort merchants to use Paytm soundbox.
In a blog post acknowledging the fake paytm spoof app, the company said that merchants can ensure proper receipt whenever a customer does a transaction through :
- SMS notifications
- In app notifications through Paytm for Business App
- Paytm SoundBox
“So, merchant partners don’t have to rely on just customer screenshots and can instead get their own confirmations. Our merchant partners should also watch out for the confirmation ticker on the Paytm App,” Paytm said in its blog.
Both the viral videos that show women attempting to con shopkeepers using fake ‘Paytm spoof app’ are scripted and dramatised and are meant for educational purposes.
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