Amidst all the chaos that’s been prevailing around the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, cheats have found a way to cash in on the situation. Since November 10 morning, banks have reopened to the public, allowing them to turn in the old currency notes for smaller denominations or to deposit into their accounts. With almost every bank tackling long queues, some charlatans have decided to use the opportunity to extort bank details from hapless customers.
At least a couple of our colleagues have received fraudulent phone calls, where the cheats tried to get debit card and credit card numbers, netbanking credentials and even asked for the PINs and OTPs. After calling back on one of these cheats’ numbers, here’s some of the advice that we can offer you, to protect yourself from such swindlers.
1) This is the first and foremost thing that you need to know – no bank is ever going to call you to ask you for your debit/credit card details to expedite the process of turning in the OHD currency notes.
2) The cheats are probably going to tell you that they are from the bank, and they need to run a verification so that you are eligible for a deposit/withdrawal whenever you go to the bank. This is false, as you are eligible for a deposit or a withdrawal through your bank at any time.
3) You might also get a call saying that your money will be “changed” or “activated” in your bank for a hassle-free withdrawal for tomorrow or a later date, and you’ll be asked for your banking details, such as your account number, card number or net-banking credentials. Under no circumstances should you divulge these details, because when you withdraw money from your account, the bank will give you the new currency notes anyway.
4) As ATMs will start opening from November 11, one of the cheats’ tricks is to tell you that you need to furnish your debit card details so that your debit card is “eligible” to withdraw the new notes. Again, this is a trick, please don’t fall for it. You can continue using your existing debit card to withdraw cash from the ATMs and rest assured, you are “eligible” for the newer currency – the only constraint is the withdrawal limit. (Check here)
5) If, somehow, a cheat has managed to get hold of your card details, you might be asked for your CVV, PIN or OTP to “verify” your card. In all likelihood, they are asking for these details to initiate fraudulent transactions and siphon money off your account – Do NOT give out any details.
6) In most cases, these fraudsters will not be able to tell you which bank they are calling from, unless somehow they have prior information about your banking details. While we recommend that you don’t entertain such calls, the easiest way to figure out if they’re fraudsters is by asking them which bank they are calling from.
We decided to call back on one of these cheats’ numbers after a colleague received a fraudulent call, and you can check out our conversations – the fraudster wanted our card details, CVV number, expiry date etc (for which, needless to say, we furnished fictitious details). At this point, it is important to remember that the only way to change your existing notes is through banks or post offices in person, and under no circumstances should you give out your banking details to anyone who claims to be from a bank.