Mumbai: BEST facing spate of complaints from consumers over fraudulent messages of disconnection of electric supply

Mumbai: BEST facing spate of complaints from consumers over fraudulent messages of disconnection of electric supply

The BEST authorities have not divulged the exact span of period during when these complaints are getting generated and being delivered to their consumers

Shashank RaoUpdated: Thursday, July 07, 2022, 08:34 PM IST
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The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) is facing spate of complaints from their consumers over fraudulent messages over disconnection of electric supply and other issues from scamsters. Sources said that in the last few days, at least 19 complaints have surfaced and the BEST Undertaking has complained to the Cyber Cell department of Mumbai Police to investigate it further.

According to sources in BEST Undertaking, over the past few days they have been getting complaints from their consumers about them receiving phishing and fraudulent messages on their mobile phones. The BEST authorities have not divulged the exact span of period during when these complaints are getting generated and being delivered to their consumers.

“Over the past few days, our Supply Division have received 19 complaints from consumers about such messages. We have complained to the Cyber Cell department about the same,” said a BEST official. The BEST Undertaking, which supplies to consumers in Colaba-Sion/Mahim areas – has a customer base of 10.50 lakh consumers who are supplied electricity.

Explaining the modus operandi, the BEST officials said that they have observed that many of their electricity consumers are receiving fraudulent messages on their mobile phones threatening disconnection of electric supply and asking to call on a certain given mobile number. “Further when consumers call these fraudulent numbers they are guided to a link and asked to download a certain application. They are then asked to go ahead with an online transaction for a nominal amount,” said a BEST official.

The cheat then steals the password and OTP generated by the consumer. Thereafter consumers have reported about fraudulently withdrawal of money from their bank accounts. “In this connection we would like to inform that BEST always sends SMS in the form of ‘BESTSM’ and not from any other mobile number,” stated another official.

The Undertaking has warned that if any of the consumers’ receives billing or disconnection SMS from a number other than ‘BESTSM’ asking them to contact a particular mobile number, then they are advised not to respond to it as it may be an attempt of phishing prompting people to make an online transaction.

Earlier last month, Free Press Journal had reported about a case where a Doctor lodged a complaint with the Tilak Nagar police after having lost Rs 48500 to cyber-fraudster wherein fraudulent text message informing that the victim's electricity bill was unpaid and that his electricity would be disconnected, was sent. Later the victim was induced to download a remote access app and the money was siphoned from his bank account.

Modus Operandi

- The victims are instructed by the fraudsters to download a remote access app on their mobile phone for payment of electricity bill.

- They then insist on downloading the app on their phone and make the payment through a link provided by the fraudster.

- Through phishing, OTP and password are stolen and then money is withdrawn from the victim’s account.

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