Cyber fraud cases have been on the rise across India for the past few weeks. Many people have lost their money after falling prey to fraudsters online. Most of the time people receive an SMS on their mobile numbers and when they respond, they lose money. Recently an elderly woman of 65 years old from Mumbai lost around Rs. 7 lakhs after replying to an SMS that mentioned an overdue electricity bill.
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ANI reports that the woman is from Andheri, Mumbai. Her husband received an SMS on his phone that mentioned an unpaid electricity bill. It also carried a warning that said if the bill was not paid on time, the electricity connection to their house would be disconnected. A phone number was mentioned in the SMS to contact for any help regarding making payment.
The woman thought it to be a notification from the electricity service provider. She dialled the number and a person pretending to be an employee of the Adani Electricity office picked up the call. He assured the woman that he would help her out with the bill payment. He then asked her to download the Team Viewer Quick Support app, which allows people to access other’s devices remotely.
The elderly woman followed the instructions and downloaded the app. She shared the ID and passcode allowing the fraudster to access the mobile phone. After a few minutes, the victim received three SMS simultaneously mentioning transactions of Rs 4,62,959, Rs 1,39,900, and Rs 89,000. This totals Rs 6,91,859 being debited from her account.
These large transactions alerted the SBI Fraud Management team as the woman was a customer of SBI. They contacted her and asked if she initiated or permitted the transactions which she denied. After realizing she fell pretty to cyber fraud, she along with her daughter went to the Andheri Police Station to file an FIR. A case under IPC sections 420, 66(C), and 66(D) has been filed against the unknown person.
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Plenty of cases similar to this have been reported in Mumbai and other regions of the country. People receive messages from scammers and fraudsters that look like an emergency, like the closing of bank accounts, discontinuation of electricity bills, etc. There is also a phone number or link provided for further actions. As the victim contacts the phone number or clicks on the link, the scammers gain access to the phone or get an OTP to steal money from their accounts.
To prevent falling for such scams, never click on any suspicious link or call the number provided. It is to be noted that banks, government organizations, service providers, etc. do not send their customers asking for OTPs, card details, app download requests, etc. Even they send messages to their customers to be aware of such scammers.
The messages would come from unverified or unauthorized accounts or numbers. It is easy to differentiate a fake message from a genuine one by checking it properly.
If you receive such messages on WhatsApp or SMS, immediately take a screenshot, delete the message, block and report the user online and file a complaint with the cyber cell, police, or bank.