Ravi opened a joint savings account with his wife, Vibha and opted for internet (online) banking. Ravi taught her how to transact online and the importance of OTP, clearly and repeatedly telling her not to divulge OTP to anyone.
One day Vibha received a call from the bank asking her to share OTP, as the Bank had decided to convert her account from silver to diamond status with more benefits.
She did share, but the caller told her that it was incorrect and asked her to recheck, but she stood her ground. In fact, OTP was 4208, but she shared only half of the OTP i.e. 2104, as it was a joint account.
Whether it was ignorance or over application of mind, it proved to be a bliss for the couple, as the money remained intact in the account. But all are not that fortunate.
The issue of cyber crime has assumed a serious proportion now. The fraudsters are daily coming up with new ideas to defraud people online. Their only motive is that you either share OTP with them or click a link given by them.
I think it all started with lottery scam. The message would say,
“You have won a lottery amount of ten million pounds or dollars, but to get the same you have to deposit Rs. 25000 towards processing fee in a particular account.”
Once you part with the money, they will block your phone.
Then came KYC scam. The message would read like this,
“Your SBI / Yono account will be blocked today. Please update your KYC (or PAN card) today by clicking this link…..”
Such a message is sent by fraudsters at random even to those who have no account in SBI. Moreover, there will be no bank name in the given link. Grammatical errors in such messages are also common. One can easily guess it’s not from a genuine source. No bank calls its customers for KYC updation, but credulous people don’t apply mind and lose money.
Then came matchmaking scam. A message will be sent on Facebook or other media. If you are a male, the message will be invariably from a female from London or New York, and vice versa. Then there will be exchange of WhatsApp numbers and pleasantries and further interactions to know each other better.
Finally he will send a token gift, that will be invariably caught in customs and someone supposedly from Customs House will ask for customs duty for clearance, but amount would have to be credited in some personal account instead of any government account.
There are also cases of emotional blackmail that he has suffered a loss in business or met with an accident, and needs money immediately. Once you part with substantial money and realise that you have been taken for a ride, it will be too late.
Sextortion cases are also on the rise. A man receives a nude video call from a woman, who records the video with him in frame and later blackmail him demanding money. If man refuses to pay, the fraudster posing as police officer will demand money to save him from getting arrested.
Recently a movie scam came to the fore. A link was being sent to see a new movie e.g. The Kashmir Files on your mobile. Several people lost millions of their rupees after opening the link.
Then came Telephone bill payment scam. Scammers target people by sending them message on WhatsApp or via SMS mostly in the evening as under:
“Your electricity power will disconnect at 9.30 p.m. as your last month’s bill was not updated. Call us on mobile no………”
When you call the number and say that the bill has already been paid, they will ask to download a link to update the same. Once you do it, their purpose will be served.
It has been followed by an employment scam. The message will read as under:
“Dear, you have passed our interview, wage is 8000 Rs/Day. Please contact to discuss details. This is our link …….”
You will be surprised to receive such a message, as you have not applied or appeared in any interview for job, but they just throw the net to catch the needy or gullible fish.
Though the government has taken measures to help the victims by circulating a portal and number to report and track the related crime, but criminals go scot-free, as there is no lamination of any geographical boundaries.
Cyber criminals operate across world and they need not be physically present at the scene to commit the crime. The fast operational speed of today’s computer makes criminal activities very difficult to detect.
There are a number of malwares like SOVA that target banking apps to steal personal information. Don’t instal any app by clicking on links or from an unofficial store.
It’s better not to get allured by attractive offers. As soon as you click the link, you will get entrapped. So don’t share personal information or OTP and never click on phishing emails and dodgy links. And be in peace.
One must remember nobody gives anything for free. There is no free lunch in this world.