NEW DELHI: With the increasing incidents of cyber fraud, there is a growing need for people to be more aware of securing their bank accounts and UPI IDs. This need has become even more evident after UCO Bank experienced a significant digital fraud. Between November 10 and 13, an incorrect transfer of R820 crore was made to certain account holders using the IMPS facility, attributed to a “technical issue.”
The bank has managed to recover approximately R649 crore, accounting for 77% of the total amount. In response to this incident, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has urged banks to enhance their efforts in safeguarding depositors’ money. During the meeting, it was noted that 70 lakh mobile connections involved in cybercrime/ financial frauds reported through digital intelligence platforms have been disconnected so far. Around R900 crore defrauded money has been saved, benefitting 3.5 lakh victims.
Experts, however, suggest that individuals also need to increase their awareness and knowledge on how to protect their accounts effectively. According to experts, with the advancement of technology, financial institutions offer various services to track and secure financial profiles. Immediate detection of suspicious changes helps prevent fraudulent acts. Familiarising oneself with available services and promptly reporting any cyber financial fraud is essential.
Familiarise with the process
Sourasubha Ghosh, Partner, INDUSLAW said, “Any suspicious changes or modifications in the financial profile are capable of being tracked immediately and the same at the very least gives an opportunity to the victim to ensure that such a fraudulent act is not repeated. It is, therefore, important to get acquainted with all the services and modes made available by the financial institutions in this regard and to avail those services.”
In any event, as soon as a cyber financial fraud is discovered or has come to light, one must immediately set the legal process in motion by lodging a police complaint with his or her local police station, which would be transferred at their behest to the Cyber Crime Cell. The Ministry of Home Affairs has also established an Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) with a helpline number - 1930(erstwhile 155260).
“Alternatively, there is a direct mechanism in place to report to the cybercrime cell about the alleged fraudulent act in the government’s website cybercrime.gov.in. The site is user friendly and there is a separate link to report financial fraud. The aggrieved must make sure to give the complete details of the fraudulent act in the report including the account from which the suspicious transaction has taken place,” Ghosh stated.
Contact banks, financial institutions
As per Sachin Yadav, Partner, Financial Advisory, Deloitte India, the victim must contact his or her financial institution as soon as possible. Inform them about the fraudulent incident and seek assistance from their dedicated fraud control unit or cyber team. They can help them block their account and trace any fraudulent transactions. Next, consider changing your passwords for all online accounts, including your internet and mobile banking accounts. It is recommended to change passwords periodically, approximately every 90 days. Antivirus and anti-malware software can help protect devices and prevent potential threats.
In recent times, there have been cases where accidental payments were credited to accounts due to system glitches or human errors on the bank’s side. If you find yourself in such a situation, according to Yadav, it is important to take appropriate actions - Firstly, contact your bank immediately to report the error. Inform them about the accidental payment and request assistance to rectify the mistake. Prompt communication with the bank is crucial to resolve the issue in a timely manner.
Don’t spend wrongly credited money
“Avoid spending the extra funds that were mistakenly transferred into your account. It is advisable to refrain from using these funds, as the bank will likely correct the error. Spending the additional money could lead to further complications and legal issues,” Yadav said.
Document the details of the error and maintain a record of all communications with the bank regarding the incident. This documentation can be useful if the situation escalates and legal action becomes necessary.
“If the issue persists or becomes more complex, you may consider seeking legal advice. Consulting with a legal professional can help you understand your rights and explore appropriate options to resolve the situation,” stated Yadav.
Rising cases of frauds
UCO Bank recently reported erroneous credit of Rs 820 cr to account holders
Keep a detailed record of the error as it is necessary
It could recover only Rs 649 cr out of Rs 820 cr
It is recommended to change passwords periodically, approximately every 90 days
If you want to report the fraudulent act, you can log into the govt’s website cybercrime.gov.in
Do not spend the amount mistakenly credited to your account as the bank will correct the error
Individuals need to increase their awareness on how to protect accounts effectively. If the issue persists, seek legal advice