Celebrities have been called out on multiple occasions for endorsing fairness products and real estate with unrealistic promises. But how hard is it to swindle money in the name of a bollywood star or cricketer, without their knowledge?
Simpler than you can think
It turns out that all it takes is looking up a celebrity's GST ID number online, to get a credit card in their name for a splurging spree. Cybercriminals in Pune used the PAN details of Abhishek Bachchan, Emraan Hashmi, Shilpa Shetty and MS Dhoni among others, to pull off such a scam. The data accessible from publicly available GST ID numbers online, allowed them to secure cards for celebrities from a startup One Card.
Exploited glaring loopholes in the system
Scamsters figured out that the first two numbers in a GST ID are the state code, while the remaining 10 constitute an individual's PAN number. After that they only needed the date of birth of celebrities, again available on Google, and fraudulently placed their own pictures on the PAN Card. Following video verification, the cybercrooks went on to make purchases, until One Card became suspicious.
Spent months planning the scam
The firm alerted Delhi Police about the scamsters, but only after they had already spent more than Rs 21 lakh using the credit cards. The five people arrested even collected information about financial transactions from CIBIL, to answer questions correctly during verification. Authorities are now investigating if the scamsters got cards from other banks in a similar manner.
They scoured through Google search results for months to look for the loopholes in card issuance, and got high credit limits thanks to the data of celebrities scanned by the firm.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)