Scam alert: New phishing tactic targets electricity consumers in Chennai
A man in Chennai lost Rs 8.88 lakh after scammers stole bank credentials from his mobile phone using a remote-access app.
CHENNAI: A new type of phishing, designed to con electricity consumers, is doing the rounds. In one such incident, a man in Chennai lost Rs 8.88 lakh after scammers stole bank credentials from his mobile phone using a remote-access app.
On the modus operandi of the scam, a senior officer of the cybercrime wing of the Chennai police told The New Indian Express that it began with an SMS claiming that the victim's electricity connection would be cut because their previous month's payment had not been updated. The message would prompt the victim to call a mobile phone number.
The scammer would then offer help to the victim to pay bill/update their payment. The victim would then be told to install a remote-access app such as TeamViewer QuickSupport or AnySupport.
"Next, the scammers will tell the victim to pay a small fee for their 'help'. This amount could be as low as Rs 100. While the victim makes this fee payment via bank transfer or UPI apps, the scammers will steal the credentials using the remote-access app and empty the victim’s bank account in 3-4 transactions," the officer said.
The victims would realise that they had been conned only after these transactions. The officer advised the public to immediately contact cybercrime helpline number 1930 if they fell victim to such a scam.
The money could be traced and recovered if the incident was reported in time. With the help of the transaction ID, the account to which the money had been transferred could be traced and the amount frozen.
This increased the chances of the victim getting their money back. "With the helpline number, the victims could start the recovery process even without police help," the officer said.
In the case of financial fraud, the sooner the victims started the money-recovery process, the better. "It will be difficult to recover the money once it gets withdrawn," another officer said. As for the Chennai man, police traced the money and recovered it in about 20 days. But the scammers were yet to be traced and arrested.