Unveiling the Cyber Fraud Landscape in India: Challenges, Innovations, and SHIELD’s Role in Combatting Fake Accounts

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Gautam Sehgal, Director at SHIELD


  1. Give us an overview of the cyber fraud ecosystem in India.

Indian organizations are undergoing rapid digital transformation as they embrace new technologies to improve efficiencies, streamline operations, as well as offer innovative new products and services to the world’s second-largest internet population. However, the massive market has made the Indian tech ecosystem a highly attractive target to fraudsters.  For example, India witnessed a fivefold jump in digital payment fraud over the past year to 14.57 billion rupees ($175 million) according to RBI’s recent annual report.

Fraud overall has become exponentially more complex and organized, especially with fraud syndicates starting to incorporate AI into their fraud attacks. At the same time, there remains one consistent factor regardless of industry or market – almost all types of fraud are rooted in the use of fake accounts. After all, fraudsters won’t use their personal accounts or details for their malicious activities, to limit exposure or circumvent legal consequences. Fake accounts are an easy and cost-effective way for fraudsters to scale their impact, since tools such as AI, app cloners, and emulators allow them to create numerous fake accounts within a short period of time.

I’ll give just a few examples. E-commerce platforms often feature user reviews of products and merchants, but these can now be manufactured at a massive scale through the use of fake accounts. Fake accounts are used to disseminate fake content and information on social media platforms, or to execute complex social engineering scams. Dishonest drivers on ride-hailing platforms use fake accounts to falsify demand spikes, manipulating algorithm-driven ride prices. And fraudsters use multiple fake accounts to improve their chances of winning on gaming platforms, creating unfair advantages over genuine players.

Fake accounts are pervasive – according to SHIELD’s proprietary data, we estimate that at least 20 percent of all accounts on Indian tech platforms are fake accounts. Users and stakeholders are becoming increasingly aware of this rampant threat, eroding trust in businesses that do not implement sufficient safeguards against fraud. It’s also no longer sufficient to allow fraud to happen and reactively take action – businesses need to proactively stop fraudsters before they can impact users or the wider platform.


2. Can you explain what SHIELD is and what its core mission entails?

SHIELD is the device-first risk AI platform helping digital businesses worldwide eliminate fake accounts, stop all fraudulent activity, build trust, and drive growth. We identify the root of fraud with the global standard for device identification, the SHIELD Device ID, as well as actionable risk intelligence.

By leveraging our technology, businesses are empowered to stay ahead of evolving fraud threats. Ultimately, SHIELD’s mission is to eliminate unfairness to enable trust for the world.


3. Can you tell us more about SHIELD’s geographical presence?

With offices spanning the world across San Francisco, London, Berlin, Bangkok, Jakarta, Bengaluru, Beijing, and Singapore, SHIELD is trusted by industry leaders such as Mobile Premier League (MPL), one of the world’s largest mobile and skill gaming platforms; inDrive, the second most downloaded mobility app globally; TrueMoney, Southeast Asia’s leading fintech brand; Maya, the #1 digital bank app in the Philippines; Astro, Indonesia’s fastest-growing quick commerce company, and many more.


4. What are the primary solutions offered by SHIELD?

I previously mentioned that fraud is rooted in the use of fake accounts. To create and operate fake accounts, fraudsters need to use devices. It’s not feasible or cost-effective for fraudsters to obtain thousands of devices for the creation and operation of thousands of fake accounts. Instead, they use tools to spoof devices from a single physical device, creating the illusion that they are genuine users; they can also scale this process with AI.

That’s where we come in. SHIELD’s Device Intelligence solution consists of two parts, the SHIELD Device ID as well as SHIELD Risk Intelligence.

The SHIELD Device ID is the global standard for device identification; it eliminates fake accounts at the root by identifying every physical device on the business’s platform with extreme accuracy and persistence.

SHIELD Risk Intelligence continuously profiles the device session, returning real-time actionable risk signals to provide comprehensive insights into user activity as well as identify malicious tools and techniques. SHIELD’s Risk Intelligence also enables online platforms to stay ahead of new and unknown fraud attacks with our Global Intelligence Network, a continuously updating fraud library.

By tying fake devices and accounts back to the same device with the SHIELD Device ID and actionable risk intelligence, we help companies stop fraud attacks like account takeovers, promo abuse, collusion, and more at the root. Our device-first risk AI platform does not require any personally identifiable information and is fully GDPR compliant, ensuring that fraud is stopped without compromising user privacy.


5. How is SHIELD enabling Swiggy in enhancing its fraud prevention and detection capabilities?

Swiggy is enhancing its fraud prevention and detection capabilities through the use of SHIELD’s Device Intelligence solution. Through our partnership, SHIELD is enabling Swiggy to reduce promo abuse and deter fraudulent practices within the Delivery Partner ecosystem.

Promo abuse – including the exploitation of platform discounts, sign-up incentives, referral bonuses and monopolization of limited-time deals – is rampant across online businesses globally. To carry out promo abuse, fraud syndicates use app cloners and tampered apps to create fake accounts at scale. This not only hurts return on investments towards user acquisition but also makes it unfair for genuine users who miss out on these benefits.

Delivery partners can also use malicious tools and techniques to falsify their location and meet targets and unfairly collect incentives they have not earned. These impact Delivery Partners’ perception of platform fairness and hence their experience with the platform.

SHIELD’s device-first risk AI platform enhances the Swiggy Trust & Safety team’s capabilities to proactively detect fraud and abuse on the Swiggy platform, by accurately detecting fraudulent devices as well as the use of malicious tools and techniques. At the same time, the Swiggy team is able to optimize their fraud prevention processes and redirect their focus towards enhancing the customer experience. SHIELD’s Device Intelligence operates seamlessly in the background, allowing Swiggy to differentiate between genuine users and fraudsters in real time.

Our technology enables Swiggy to identify and deter fraudulent users and delivery partners from promo abuse, the monopolization of limited-time promotions, and incentive abuse. By ensuring a fairer platform for genuine users, Swiggy is setting the standard for trust and convenience in delivery, while paving the way for the business’s continued growth.