A video showing a 'FASTag Scam' has been widely circulated across social media. The video has been circulated with the claim that amounts from FASTag wallets are being siphoned by a trickster posing as a person cleaning cars.
The viral video has been shot from an interior of a car. A child can be seen cleaning the windshield of the car. The man filming the video points to the child as the child repeatedly swipes the smartwatch on his wrist against the FASTag scanner on the car's windshield.
After cleaning the windscreen, the child starts to leave but the person filming gestures to him and asks why is he not demanding any money for cleaning the windshield. The person filming then asks the child about the watch on his wrist. Upon this, the child runs away and the other man sitting in the car gives him a chase. The person filming explains the alleged FASTag scam that are taking place with fraudsters using smartwatches to scan FASTag radio frequency identification (RFID).
Allegedly, these children then illegally siphon off money from the vehicle's FASTag under the excuse of cleaning vehicles. The driver's money is stolen from their account in this case. In the video, the child is shown to have escaped with the stolen funds.
The video is massively viral across Twitter and Facebook.
Another video has gone viral with a similar claim. In this video, two men can be seen discussing the alleged 'FASTag Scam'. In the video, one person seemingly refers to the viral video and claims that a child cleaning the windshield of a car stole a driver's FASTag funds through a smartwatch.
The video was originally uploaded by content creator DostCast on their YouTube channel on June 11, 2022. The person who mentions the claim, magician and illusionist Karan Singh has shared the video on their Facebook page as well.
The viral posts claim that children illegally steal money from a vehicle's FASTag under the excuse of cleaning vehicles. The children steal the driver's money by scanning a smartwatch against the RFID FASTag scanner.
We also received messages on our WhatsApp fact check no. +91-6364000343 requesting to fact-check the claim.
The Logical Indian fact check team verified the viral claim and found it to be false. Only authorised merchants can make a payment request.
We went through our reports which detail how FASTag works. In an The Logical Indian article published on 21 April 2016, it is stated that FASTag is an electronic toll collection system which uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.
We also conducted a keyword search to gain further information on FASTag and came across this blog by National Electronic Toll Collection which operates the electronic toll collection services in India. The blog states that the toll charges are directly deducted from the linked account of the customer. NETC FASTag is also vehicle specific and once it is affixed to a vehicle, it cannot be transferred to another vehicle.
The FASTag is attached to the windscreen of a vehicle and enables drivers to drive through toll plazas without stopping for a receipt. The RFID is scanned and the amount is automatically deducted from the user's bank account. FASTag is operated by 23 banks overseen by the National Payment Corporation Of India (NPCI) and the National Highway Authority of India(NHAI).
We also came across an explainer video about how FASTag works which was uploaded by The Hindu BusinessLine on their YouTube channel on December 15, 2019. On February 14, 2021, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways announced that FASTag would be mandatory for all vehicles.
To ascertain whether the viral video was from an actual incident, we used InVid's Keyframe Analysis tool to isolate the keyframes of the video. We then conducted a reverse image search on the keyframes of the video. This led us to this image uploaded on a report by the news portal Lallantop. The report was published on 25 June 2022. As the report indicates, the viral video was first uploaded on the Facebook page, BakLol Video. We found that the original video has since been taken down. Below you can see the screenshot of the viral video.
We went through the Facebook page and found the following description on their About page. The page mentions, "funniest videos on facebook for you guys". The Facebook page is listed as a Video Creator.
We also looked up the YouTube channel of the content creators. The following statement is posted on the About section of their channel. "This is for the entertainment, laugh, fun and enjoy..keep watching ,keep sharing, keep taging".
After examining the archived version of the video and the videos across BakLok Video's channels, we noticed that the persons in the video can be seen in other videos on the channel. The same person seen in other Baklol videos as linked here, here and here. Through these videos, it can be seen that these persons are actors who have acted in several videos uploaded by Baklol Video.
In our fact check, we also came across statements by PayTM and FASTag NETC. In the statement, PayTM announced that the viral video in question was misleading. "As per NETC guidelines, FASTag payments can be initiated only by authorised merchants, onboarded after multiple rounds of testing. Paytm FASTag is completely safe & secure," the payments company stated.
FASTag NETC also issued a statement clarifying that the viral video is misleading. The tweet states, "Please note that there are baseless and false videos circulating on Social media."
In the statement, NETC mentions the following: "Considering the above, we would like to apprise that:
1. No transactions can be executed through open internet connectivity.
2. No financial transactions can be initiated without all the above pre-requisites."
In our fact check, we also came across this post on LinkedIn by a cybersecurity expert, Rahul Sasi, who is the Founder and CEO of CloudSEK, a cybersecurity company.
Sasi mentions, "A fastag (automatic toll collection) system is not something a kid with a smartwatch can hack. Only authorised merchants would be able to make a payment request."
Government fact check handle PIB Fact Check also denied the viral claim.
In our investigation, we found that the video is scripted and was originally uploaded on the Facebook page, Baklol Video. We ascertained that the video shows actors regularly featured on the Baklol Video page. As per statements by NETC, PayTM and cybersecurity expert, Rahul Sasi, the FASTag system is foolproof and "completely safe & secure". As per their statements, only authorised merchants would be able to make a payment request. Hence, the viral claim is false.
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