Viral Video of Kid scanning FastTag to Steal Money, Is this true?
No, It’s extremely wrong. Normal people can’t scan and deduct the amount from your FastTag code.
You guys might have seen this video about one kid who is cleaning the car glass and suddenly tried to scan FastTag with his smartwatch.
People who’re having FastTag on their cars are in fear of losing money in their FastTag accounts.
So before we believe that this is true or false, let’s get deep dive into FastTag technology.
FastTag is an electronic toll collection system, operated by the NHAI.
NHAI is The National Highways Authority of India, an autonomous agency of the Government of India, started in 1995 and is responsible for managing a network of over 50,000 km of National Highways out of 1,32,499 km in India.
It has Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to FastTag.
It is affixed to the windscreen of the vehicle and enables one to drive through toll plazas without stopping.
The tag can be purchased from official Tag issuers/other Platform which are being authorized by the Government of India and if it is linked with a prepaid account, then recharging or top-up can be as per requirement.
The minimum recharge amount is ₹100 and can be done online. As per NHAI, FastTag has unlimited validity. Separate Lanes at some Toll plazas have been built for FastTag.
Vehicles that have FastTag enabled on them, do not have to stop at toll gates because charges would be deducted from the FastTag account or FastTag linked bank account when the vehicle is passing through the toll gate.
This means that drivers do not have to stop their vehicles to make transactions as the toll collection will be done electronically under the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program.
As of September 2019, FastTag lanes are available on over 500 national and state highways and over 54.6 lakh cars are enabled with FastTag. FastTag becomes mandatory for all vehicles after 15 February 2021.
A FastTag is a prepaid rechargeable tag service that allows the driver to make automatic payments for tolls.
An activated FastTag, which is installed on the car’s windshield, uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to communicate with the scanner which automatically deducts the amount from the user’s bank account.
The government agency behind the FastTag toll collection program has refuted a viral video that claims to show a child scanning a FastTag to steal money from a driver’s bank account.
The video in question appears to show a child scanning the FastTag with his smartwatch while wiping the windshield of a car. When asked by the driver about the watch on his wrist, the child runs away quickly.
The driver then explains that the child is part of a larger scam in which fraudsters have given smartwatches with scanners to children who beg at traffic signals.
When the children hold their watches near the FastTag, money gets deducted from the driver’s account.
The Twitter account of FastTag said that FastTag payments can only be made to approved merchants.
It is not possible for unauthorized devices to initiate financial transactions of FastTag.
“The registered merchants can only initiate NETC FastTag transactions. “No unauthorized device can initiate any financial transactions on NETC FastTag. It is absolutely safe.”
Ethical hacker and cyber security expert Sunny Nehra also flagged the video as fake.
“FastTag payments can only be made to FastTag approved merchants which are licensed toll operators with the unique identifiers issued by NHAI,” he said.
Vedant Birla said that “Highway scanners are working on different bandwidth of RF which unbreakable.”
Here is the complete process of FastTag working at the toll plaza
- Whenever the vehicle passes through the ETC lane of the Toll Plaza, the Toll Plaza system captures the FastTag details like (Tag ID, TID, Vehicle class, etc.) and sends it to the Acquiring bank for processing.
- The Acquiring bank sends a request to the NETC Mapper to validate the tag details.
- Once the Tag ID is validated, NETC Mapper responds with details like Vehicle class, VRN, Tag Status, etc. If the Tag ID is absent in NETC Mapper, it will respond that the Tag ID is not registered.
- After successful validation of Tag ID from NETC Mapper, the acquirer host calculates the appropriate toll fare and initiates a debit request to the NETC system.
- NETC System will switch the debit request to the respective issuer bank for debiting the account of the customer.
- The issuer host shall debit the linked tag holder account and sends an SMS alert to the tag holder. The Issuer host shall send the response message to the NETC system. If the response is not sent within the defined TAT, the transaction is considered Deemed Accepted
- NETC system will notify the response to the acquirer host.
- The acquirer host will notify to respective toll plaza system.