CHENNAI: The next time someone calls asking if you want a credit card, be careful. It could be a cyber phishing ploy that empties your bank account. A youngster from Chennai recently got a call from someone claiming to be from the State Bank of India (SBI). The caller offered a credit card with a `3 lakh limit, and sought some bank details, such as the 16-digit card number and its expiry date. In no time, about `65,000 was taken from the youngster’s account through online transactions even though the victim didn’t share his CVV (the security number on the back of the card).
Another youngster, Tapas Dev (25), got a call from one Raghu Ram, who claimed to be an SBI employee. The scammer wanted Tapas’ ICICI credit card details to verify bank statements and transaction details, to provide an SBI card. “I gave him the details and OTP. Since he didn’t ask for my CVV number, I thought I was safe. But within seconds, I lost `64,215,” Tapas alleged.
This reporter too had a similar experience. A female telecaller, claiming to be from IndusInd Bank, promised a credit card with a `11 lakh limit. When asked how she arrived at such a big amount without even looking at the income and transaction details, she said she just needed the account details. But when questioned about the branch she was calling from and the branch manager, she hung up.
For many, the torture doesn’t end with losing their money. Tapas says, “The frauds also called my bank from their number and have told them to convert the stolen credit money into an EMI. I don’t know how the bank entertained these false-identity calls.”
When contacted, the customer care sections of major banks, such as HDFC, ICICI, and SBI, said their staff never ask for credit/debit card details, bank account numbers, expiry dates or other secure information over the phone. “If customers want a credit card, they can simply walk into their branch office. Why should they entertain these unknown calls?” asked a manager with a private bank.
While the fraudsters’ numbers are registered in Tamil Nadu, there is no guarantee they are operating in the State, as GPS locations too can be forged. This makes it harder for the police to track them. A senior police officer with the Cyber Crime Wing said fraudsters use different ways to swindle money even without CVV numbers or OTPs.
“There is the SIM swap method, wherein fraudsters get victims’ mobile number using fraudulent documents. Then, there is mail phishing, by which the accused can enter your gadgets after you click on an attractive link. Mobile mirroring is another option — the accused install malware that lets them see everything on your phone.”
Another senior police officer said, “Almost all major banks have third parties that work on customer-related issues. We suspect that individuals from these companies leaked data on the dark web.”
How to stay on the safe route
● Always reach the bank’s branch office for any queries or requirements
● Never share account number, card details, CVV number to anyone
● Keep aged people informed about such cyber frauds
● Block your card immediately if lost
● Call bank’s official customer care number for help
● Beware of swiping cards in public places such as shops or malls
● Report to police immediately if you observe fraudulent transactions
The Truecaller app marks many tele-calling numbers as spam. For some numbers, victims have
even commented on previous bitter experiences, like being cheated of lakhs of rupees
(Inputs from Sahaya Novinston Lobo @ Chennai)