Bengaluru: Crediwatch (CW), a digital trust platform, has developed tools to help validate medical service providers for Covid-19 relief across India, in a bid to combat fraud in relief efforts. CW aims to enable Covid-19 relief workers, doctors, hospitals, and resource teams to quickly ascertain the bonafides of a supplier of medical supplies such as liquid oxygen, medicines, surgical masks, and so on.
Unfortunately, this crisis has seen bad actors take advantage of relief work. For example, bogus suppliers have not delivered medical oxygen that they were paid for by aid organizations. Many fraudsters have emerged who claim to offer a service and fail to deliver after collecting premium payments for it.
“Validation of supplier or vendor information on relief networks and websites is a manual process, making it time consuming. This is diverting our resources and reducing the impact of relief work at a crucial time,” said Meghna Suryakumar, founder and CEO of Crediwatch, adding, “As startups and business leaders, we realize that we are in a position to impact this unprecedented situation positively.”
Since the onset of the pandemic, public, private, and civic organizations have circulated information about hospital bed availability, medical supplies such as oxygen, masks, sanitizer, and so on. This information is largely crowdsourced and has been a collective effort of several voluntary groups, including the startup community, stepping up to help society-at-large. However, much of this information is being shared without adequate verification on social media, messaging platforms, and relief networks.
“Even in these unprecedented times, there have been reports of bad actors trying to pocket money by making false promises and trying to pose as legitimate service providers,” said Hemanth G C, Head of Product at Crediwatch. “In our efforts to curb disinformation, we have put our AI/ML technology tools to the task of verifying supplier profiles,” he said, adding that this has been possible thanks to supporting partners and networks, who are each doing their bit in this collaborative effort.
How it works
CW’s web platform or APIs (application programming interface) enables relief networks to instantly run checks on businesses claiming to offer a service. CW’s bot infrastructure and proprietary scores will identify any potential risks with a business entity. Only validated businesses can be retained by various relief networks providing critical care across India.
Crediwatch at its core works towards solving the problem of information collection, validation and verification and offers insights based on this data. Relief networks intending to use CW’s web-based platform or APIs could use it in the following ways:
- Verify the name of the business entity claiming to offer a service (For example: a hospital, a pharmacy, a restaurant, an oxygen supplier, a cylinder manufacturer). This is done using a combination of proprietary data about businesses along with public information from GSTN data. CW will confirm the existence of an entity (business/proprietor) using information from over 2500 public records.
- Verify phone numbers in an automated, API enabled manner. This is intended to give three pieces of information:
- The validity of the phone number along with the last tried date/time.
- The reachability of the phone number with the last tried date/time.
- Whether the business/entity is continuing to accept requests for service. This is based on disclosures by the service provider when contacted by our automated bot via an IVR response