Mumbai: Man posts refund query on Twitter, duped

Cyber fraud criminals are finding new targets through service complaints being raised on Twitter, a recent case has revealed.

A 25-year-old resident of Vikhroli, AK Gupta, recently fell for a phishing scam after he had tweeted to the BHIM to seek clarity on the transaction he had made for paying his electricity bill.

According to the police, on April 26 he had used the BHIM app on his phone to make payment of Rs 3,270 electricity bill of his house. While the money got debited from his account, when he enquired with the electricity provider company about the transaction, he was informed that they had not received the bill amount.

"Gupta initially tried contacting the toll free number of BHIM but when there was no response, he raised his query on BHIM's official Twitter handle on April 28. However, instead, he received a reply from a fake Twitter handle created of BHIM. The tweet had a mobile number and stated that query will be resolved after contacting on the said number," said a police officer.

An unsuspecting victim then called on the said number and he was told that since the bank's server was down, deducted money could not be credited back to the victim's account, police said.

"The fraudster then sent a phishing link to the victim and after clicking the link and following instructions given by the fraudster, the victim ended up losing totally Rs 22,346 in two different transactions. The victim then lodged a police complaint in this matter," the officer said.

The police have registered a case against unknown person on May 05 under sections 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 66C (punishment for identity theft) and 66D (punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resource) of offences) of the Information Technology Act.

"It has been observed that people who seek refund of either any bill payment or online purchases raise their queries on Twitter. Fraudsters use this as an opportunity by either approaching the victim through fake Twitter handles or by calling them claiming to be executives responding to their queries and then dupe unsuspecting victims. People should be cautious while dealing with unknown people and should verify the credentials of the person before trusting them," the officer said.

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Free Press Journal