Paytm Owner Targets Operators With Phishing Lawsuit

A sign for PayTM online payment method, operated by One97 Communications Ltd., is displayed at a street stall selling accessories in Bengaluru, India, on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. A relative laggard in digital transactions, India has more recently seen 50 percent year-on-year growth, according to a study by Google and Boston Consulting Group. The pace may accelerate with demonetization giving digital wallets like Paytm, MobiKwik and Freecharge an extra push. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images

One97 Communications, parent of mobile payments provider Paytm, filed court proceedings accusing India’s largest mobile operators of failing to protect its customers against phishing attacks, The Times of India reported.

The case, submitted to the Delhi High Court, seeks INR1 billion (US$13.2 million) in damages from operators for what One97 Communications claims is financial and reputational loss resulting from criminal activity perpetrated using mobile networks.

Companies cited by the newspaper as targets for the action are Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone, BSNL and MTNL.

Among the grievances, One97 Communications claims operators are not fulfilling legal obligations to properly verify telemarkers before registering them.

The lack of proper verification, it believes, enables phishing attacks against users of Paytm and associated services. It also claims preventing these types of communications through either blocking or “financial disincentives” is the operators’ responsibility.

In the filing, it alleges criminals have been registering with mobile providers and assigning themselves identities similar to official ones used by Paytm and its individual product lines.

Calls, messages and other communications from fraudsters then ask for various personal details such as account details, or include a link to install malware on a device which is able to steal payments data.

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