Sanjeev Kotnala: OTP Frauds – Banks should consider collective action

12 Aug,2022

Sanjeev KotnalaBy Sanjeev Kotnala


OTP, short for One Time Password, is equally an advantage and a possible threat. Not a single day passes without a report of some or the other person being duped through digital payments, and where OTP is an essential part of the trail. No one wants to be a victim; however, the possibilities exist every time they interact and transact.


Jamtara – Sabka Number Ayega on Netflix was an eyeopener for most banking and credit card users. However, its impact on controlling or reducing potential fraud was and is limiting.


People are aware of the need not to share OTP and know how they can be trapped and lose money. Banks – including the central; bank- RBI has been relentlessly communicating and warning every account holder and digital wallet holder of the possibilities.



The mail inbox is full of emailers from banks, and the SMS (now even WhatsApp) has the relevant warning flashing from time to time.


So, what is happening? And some simple possibilities come to mind.


Maybe we are not reaching the most venerable potential victims through our media choices.


Maybe, people have become somewhat complacent knowing that they can and, in the case of credit cards, a bit protected against their own mistakes.


Maybe the OTP is so much of an everyday process that it is shared between family members.


Maybe the communication is not crafted well enough for the most venerable potential victims to understand.


Maybe the fraudsters are always a step ahead of the banks and regulatory bodies.


Maybe the communication by individual banks is defined by their own understanding, and the consumer gets too many different signals.


Maybe at this stage of fragmented media- rising media cost and shortened attention span- the brands in digital payments and netbanking need to look at the situation afresh.


Maybe it is time for a collective collaborative combined effort from the banks and digital wallets. Which can give them the advantage of a concentrated, focused media approach.


As a brand collective, it will fuel safe usage, and the brands can fight the market war on functional benefits.


Maybe it will help reduce the liability of banks for such frauds.


Maybe it is an impractical wish in these competitive times. Perhaps someone will take the initiative and see merit in it.


In the past, the Sunday Ya Monday, Roz Khaao Andey did tge magic. Motorola led the communication with multiple pager service providers and was hugely successful. Maybe there is some merit in thinking collective approach and addressing the problem. It will not solve it; however, it may help reduce the same.


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