HYDERABAD: Fraudsters are turning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ campaign on its head to siphon off money from bank accounts of the general public.
With the Union government advocating linking of Aadhaar with various services, conmen are using this key identification document to dupe people. Every day, on an average, 20 people are falling prey to the new-age fraud in the city.
Posing as bankers, fake tele-callers call up customers saying, “Hello, sir/madam, the bank has decided to link your Aadhaar number with debit card for better customer service.”
To gain confidence of the victim, the fraudsters even give out the common 12-digit code on the debit card, which would be unique to each bank, and then ask them to reveal the remaining four digits, unique to each customer. Along with the last four digits, they, on the sly, extract the CVV (card verification value) number.
“These fraudsters then — by using various payment modes like PayTM, Billdesk and other platforms — place orders which immediately generate a one-time password (OTP) on the customer’s mobile. As the customer is in the dark about the actual fraud and presumes that the OTP is for linking Aadhaar with debit/credit card, he/she shares the OTP with the fake tele-callers,” assistant commissioner of police (CCS) B Anuradha told TOI.
As the OTP has short validity (between 5 and 15 minutes), the culprits make as many purchases as possible using various gateways. On the other hand, the customers get confused on seeing a series of alerts of purchase of mobile recharge coupons and products online.
In another modus operandi, the caller asks for an alternative mobile number and sends an OTP to the customer to gain his/her confidence. After the customer confirms the OTP on the phone, the fraudsters proceed and collect confidential details, the police officer said.
During investigation, police found that the fraudsters were operating from Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Incidentally, till date, none of them has been arrested. “It appears that some of the conmen are familiar with how tele-callers operate and work. We suspect that they could be either former or serving call centre employees. Using the confidential details of customers, money is siphoned off from the accounts of the victims,” Cyberabad police’s Cyber Wing inspector Md Riyaz said.
Though many victims approach police immediately, poor response from many payment gateways has been hampering investigation, helping the culprits get away with their crime.