Representative Image
Representative Image

Mumbai: Clearly, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Ask the 45-year-old school employee, who decided to track down the owner of an ATM card that a student had brought to him, saying it had been found on the ground near the school. The man searched online for the bank’s helpline number and called the number, only to fall prey to cyber fraud and lose Rs 13,000 in the process. The caller had claimed to be an executive of the bank and on the pretext of verification, induced the victim to share OTPs which the latter had received on his phone and siphoned off cash from his bank account.

According to police, the complainant (name withheld on request), is a resident of Khandeshwar, Navi Mumbai, and works at a polytechnic high school. On January 22, around 1.30pm, when he was at work, a student brought an ATM card to him, saying they had found it on the ground near the school. The man then decided to gather more information about the cardholder, hoping to return it to its owner.

He searched online for the helpline number of the public sector bank. On calling the number, he was told someone from the bank would call him shortly. After a while, the victim received a call from an unknown mobile number and the caller told him he was calling from the bank and enquired about the lost ATM card, so that it could be returned to the holder, police said.

"The accused then sent phishing links to the victim on his phone and induced him to share the four OTPs he had received on his phone. Within minutes, the victim realised that Rs 13,000 had been siphoned from his bank account. The victim then approached police and got a complaint lodged in the matter on January 30. We have registered a case against unknown person under section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 66C (punishment for identity theft) and 66D (punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resource) of the Information Technology Act. We request people not to share any OTPs with any unknown person over the phone or click unreliable links," said a police officer.

Police suspect that the ATM card which the victim found could have well been a bogus card with bogus details, just to trap people. "This is a new cyber-crime modus operandi that has come to our notice. We will check where the money siphoned off the victim's account was parked or used. If anyone finds any abandoned ATM or credit card, it is always better to deposit it with the police," said the officer.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal