Watch Out As Scammers Are Out To Rob Your Bank Accounts!
These days there is an upsurge in whatsapp calls from international numbers or calls from unknown numbers, alluring the listeners to give huge beneficial insurance schemes or asking for financial favors with attractive offers, in the form of Amazon gift cards, Paytm or any other digital payment method.
Manjit Thakur, Special correspondent at India Today, sharing his experience on his facebook account, says, “Got two phone calls today. First, from ICICI Lombard. The caller was asking- Your health insurance was to be renewed. I said, it is not from your company, but the caller had the information with which company I am insured.”
Narrating another incident, Thakur says, “Second call was from Indusind bank. The person told me that my credit card approval has come. I said, brother, I had not asked for approval at all. I didn't even apply, so how did the approval come, and I don't have an account with your bank? The man remained adamant that though you do not have an account, but we have got your number.”
Thakur raises a question, “Now the question is serious what to do? Thinking that the person in front is also doing his job, we talk softly, but the matter is not going to be soft at all. Who has the solution for this? ministry? Government?”.
Commenting over the post of Manjit Thakur, Vikas Lal, an Associate Manager at Accenture says, “What you mentioned about ICICI Bank has happened to me also last week. They even gave me the insurance number and said that if you do not want to renew, then reimburse the money that is there. I think this is a new method of online fraud being developed. I said with full confidence in the beginning that I have never taken insurance from this bank even though I was definitely forced to think for some time. If I had probably gone ahead, they would have asked me to share the rest of the information or to renew the insurance on some link.”
In July 2022, Punjab Police arrested two Nigerian men from Delhi for cyber fraud impersonating ministers and bureaucrats. The modus operandi used by the fraudsters involved sending WhatsApp messages to people, mostly government officials, asking for financial favours, in the form of Amazon gift cards, Paytm or any other digital payment method.
The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Ajay Kumar Mishra in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha told that the Ministry of Home Affairs has operationalized a toll-free Helpline number ‘1930’ (earlier ‘155260’) for immediate reporting of financial frauds on the “Citizen Financial Cyber Fraud Reporting and Management System” module and to get assistance in lodging cybercrime incidents on the “National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal”. As per the data maintained by the National Crime Records
Bureau (NCRB), a total of 175494 financial fraud complaints have been received from 30.08.2019 to 30.03.2022 on this helpline. Such complaints are being handled by the respective State/UT Law Enforcement Agencies. The NCRB does not maintain specific data about the number of complaints disposed off out of the received complaints, a PIB release dated April 6, 2022 revealed.
Recently, Haryana Police broke the network of cyber thugs in Nuh and unearthed Rs 100 crores pan-India cyber fraud involving 28000 cases of cyber-crime traced across the country.
These thugs used to cheat people across the country with fake SIM, Aadhaar Cards etc. and used to deposit money in fake bank accounts to avoid arrest. People from Haryana to the national capital, Delhi and UP to Andaman-Nicobar from 35 states and union territories across the country have been targeted by these fraudsters. With their arrest, about 28,000 cases of cyber fraud to the tune of Rs 100 crores have been traced across the country.
Giving details of the modus operandi, Superintendent of Police, Nuh Varun Singla while addressing a press conference in Nuh, revealed that these fraudsters used to commit the fraud by luring the victims with attractive offers of sale on products like bikes, cars, mobile phones etc. by posting misleading advertisements on Facebook Bazaar/OLX. The unsuspecting victim then calls the fraudster on the given fake mobile number and the fraudster cheats the victim on the pretext of courier charges, transportation of product etc. but the product never gets delivered.
These fraudsters also used to post an advertisement on social media platforms offering work from home mainly related to Packaging of Natraj Pencils, promising an earning of Rs 30,000 per month and cheat gullible people on the pretext of registration fee, Packing materials, Courier fee etc.
Similarly, cyber fraudsters used to check random number series in UPI apps to get the names of victims registered against those numbers on those Apps. The fraudster then impersonates as some friend/relative of those unsuspecting victims and requests them to receive payment on their behalf on one or the other pretext. They then used to commit fraud by sending fake payment messages and get the real money transferred to their accounts before the victim found something amiss. Similarly, on the pretext of buying old coins, gullible people were duped of huge sums of money.
The Cybercriminals were also duping victims through sextortion crime by creating attractive profiles on social media platforms and luring the victims to come on a video chat where they carry out screen recording of the victims in compromising positions and then extort huge sums of money from them.
How to remain safe
The Ministry of Home Affairs, under its ‘Secure online financial services’, has advised some security features for safeguarding from cyber scammers. It states - With the growth of information and communication technology, the structure and nature of financial services delivery has also changed. Online banking or internet banking has emerged as a new and convenient way for using financial services like funds transfer, viewing account statements, bill payment, use of e-wallets etc.
An upsurge in the use of devices connected with the internet and the convenience of online financial services has increased the risk of our hard-earned money being duped by cybercriminals of our hard-earned money. Following some of the tips may be adhered for safe online transactions:
Never disclose your net banking password, One Time Password (OTP), ATM or phone banking PIN, CVV number, expiry date to anyone, even if they claim to be from your bank. Also, never respond to mails asking for above details which seem to have been received from your bank.
No bank or its employees will ever call or email you requesting for your net banking password, One Time Password (OTP), ATM or phone banking PIN, CVV number, etc. Such cases should be immediately reported to your bank. Always use strong passwords and prefer separate ID/password combinations for different accounts to prevent anyone from guessing them. Periodically change passwords of your online banking accounts.
(The author is a retired bank manager and a freelance journalist, views expressed are personal)