Lockdown 3.0: As digital payments rise, cybercriminals turn to KYC frauds

With the countrywide lockdown in place to contain the spread of Coronavirus and maintain social distancing, citizens prefer to make e-payments for purchasing essentials. Taking advantage of the situation, two Oshiwara-based residents were conned in the name of KYC procedure, where their money was siphoned off. Police said, over Rs 9.30 lakh was siphoned off collectively in both the cases. Two separate cases of cheating have been registered under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act.

The first incident occurred on April 16, when Mohammad Khan, 38, received a call from a man posing as a personnel from e-wallet company PayTM, and acquired the bank details linked with the e-wallet platform. After misguiding Khan with 'complicated KYC (know your customer) procedures, the accused sent a link and asked Khan to enter the One Time Password (OTP) to complete the procedure. Within no time Rs 2,30,198 was siphoned from his account.

In the second incident, Chanchal Chandiyok, 45, fell prey to a similar con on April 30, where she lost Rs 7 lakh to an imposter who claimed to be a representative from a renowned private bank. An official said, in both the cases registered at Oshiwara police station, the imposters claimed to be representatives from private banks and e-wallet company, informing users that their accounts will be suspended as their KYC details have not been updated.

A police official said, in both cases fraudsters used the same modus operandi of first calling the user and tricked them into sharing their privy bank details like account number, following which they received a link. As soon as the user opens that link and enters their One Time Password (OTP), a huge amount of money is siphoned off within minutes.

"This type of cybercrime is trending since the past year and picked up pace with the lockdown in place and citizens depending on online payments. We have drawn a list of such numbers and are constantly scrutinising the activities," said a senior cyber police official, while requesting confidentiality.

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