Mumbai: Pension account scare causes a senior citizen to fall prey to phishing, loses Rs 2 lakh
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An 81-year-old pensioner was duped to the tune of Rs 1.95 lakh on the pretext of helping the senior citizen secure his pension account. The senior, a Hiranandani Gardens resident, lost Rs 1.95 lakh in a series of five transactions after he shared the OTP, fearing his pension account will be shut, as he had 'flouted' TRAI rules. When the senior found out about the cheating a month later he approached the Powai Police who registered a case against an unidentified accused and booked him under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act.

Anthony John Cardoz, 81, a retired port employee, stays at Hiranandani Gardens in Powai with his wife Rosy. Cardoz is an account holder in the Powai branch of a government bank, where he has his pension account as well. On June 2, he received a call from a man, who introduced himself as Deepak Mishra and said that he is a bank employee. Mishra further said that Cardoz's pension account is going to be suspended as he has flouted rules set by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), following which he will not receive any pension thereafter.

Panicked by the news, Cardoz immediately sought help to secure his pension account, as it was the only source of income for the senior couple. Mishra then suggested him a solution and asked him to share the account, debit card details, to which Cardoz innocently complied. After sharing the privy information, the senior citizen received five One Time Password (OTP), which he also shared with Mishra, in a bid to complete the procedure of securing his pension account. Cardoz received a series of text messages, which were ignored by him, thinking those were marketing, feedback messages.

On June 29, Cardoz went to the bank's Powai branch to update his passbook and was surprised to see that Rs 1.95 lakh was transferred from his account. He immediately alerted the bank officials and enquired with them about the withdrawals. When Cardoz told them about the incident where he shared his OTPs with Mishra, bank denied of giving him a call regarding suspension of his account, subsequently realising that he was duped by a fraudster.

Accordingly, on July 4, Cardoz approached Powai Police along with his bank statement and itemized bill, following which a complaint was lodged. Police booked the imposter, Mishra, under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act for cheating. While police are trying to trace the number from which Mishra had called, there has been no arrest yet.

In case you are a victim of cyber fraud:

▪︎Immediately alert the local police station or call the 24x7 Cyber Helpline-- 9820810007 set up to prevent and tackle Cyber Crime.

▪︎For bank frauds, immediately alert the concerned bank, block the card and fill a dispute form. If a fraud is reported within 24 hours of crime, it becomes the responsibility of the concerned stakeholder to recover the money.

▪︎Never share your bank details, debit/credit card number, and One Time Password (OTP).

While alerting bank, keep following documents handy --

•Bank statement of the last six months

•A copy of SMSs received related to the alleged transactions

•Identity and address proof as shown in the bank records

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