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Card frauds: Cheats adopt new method, block SIM of victims

Cyber expert Shubham Singh said, “This particular modus operandi is a two-part attack. The first part involves getting the bank details of the victim. The second involves using the registered mobile number to call and get details that can be used to block the SIM card of the victim.”

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai |
June 11, 2018 3:06:36 am
Card frauds: Cheats adopt new method, block SIM of victims (Representational Image)

An emerging trend has been observed in card frauds over the past few months. In addition to seeking bank details of the victims, the accused are targeting the mobile phones of victims to delay notifications and prevent blocking of cards. Through the new modus operandi, victims don’t even receive the One Time Password (OTP) that could alert them about the withdrawals.

In a case recently registered at Bandra police station, a 30-year-old man was allegedly duped of Rs 1.05 lakh. An officer said, on March 22, Shashank Sharma had received a call from someone claiming to be from his mobile service provider. The caller had sought Sharma’s date of birth and his mother’s name on the pretext of activating 4G facility on his number.

The caller had told Sharma that his card will remain inactive for a few minutes. However, noticing no network on his card for over 24 hours, Sharma bought a new card. Soon, he found that Rs 1 lakh had been fraudulently withdrawn from his account and Rs 5,000 from his e-wallet. He registered an FIR with the Bandra police on June 2.

An officer said, “We suspect that, using his basic security details, the accused called up his mobile service provider, deactivated the original card and used the new one to carry out the transactions. Because of this, the victim did not get any alerts from his bank about the withdrawals. Also, the OTP sent by the bank, as part of the two-step security verification procedure, would have gone to the new SIM card. We are investigating the matter.”

A similar case was registered at Mata Ramabai Ambedkar Marg police station in south Mumbai in May. A 31-year-old woman was duped of Rs 24,000 when she received a call from someone claiming to be from her mobile service provider. The caller had told her that a 20-digit verification code will be sent to her by the company as part of an activation process. As soon as the woman did share the code, she lost network on her phone. Once her account was activated, she found that Rs 24,000 had been withdrawn from her account. The police said the accused had changed her net-banking password to carry out the transaction.

An officer with the cyber police station said that earlier, the accused would just get bank details of the victims to carry out fraudulent transactions. Later, when card blocking became a hindrance, they started carrying out fraudulent activities in the middle of the night. “Now they have gone a step further and are trying to get the card blocked so they can get nearly a day before the card can be blocked,” said the officer.

Cyber expert Shubham Singh said, “This particular modus operandi is a two-part attack. The first part involves getting the bank details of the victim. The second involves using the registered mobile number to call and get details that can be used to block the SIM card of the victim.”

Singh added that one of the ways to avoid such attacks was to be vigilant and check with your network service provider if there is no network for a long time. “While some mobile networks send an SMS to a victim when they suspect SIM swap is in progress, it also makes sense to register for e-mail alerts to stay informed about activities on your bank account,” he said.

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