Tech-savvy swindlers have targeted the salary account of a senior employee of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), withdrawing Rs.19.31 lakh from the account through 21 fraudulent electronic transfers. Basanta Kumar Kar, a resident of Vasant Kunj, had been using the account for the past decade. He received his salary from his organisation’s headquarters at Geneva in Switzerland through the same account. On July 13, he was about to leave for the Indira Gandhi International Airport to board a flight to the United States when he noticed that his Blackberry was not working. A message saying “SIM provisioned” appeared on the phone. Suspecting foul play, Mr. Kar told his son to contact the service provider immediately.

Enquiries revealed that a duplicate SIM had been issued without proper customer identity verification, which resulted in denial of service for Mr. Kar’s handset. Consequently, all alert messages of bank transactions made through his account were diverted to the other SIM.

Phishing email

Mr. Kar said he had recently shared his account and PAN card numbers in response to a phishing mail. However, realising the mistake, he immediately alerted the bank and requested deactivation of the account. He also intimated the authorities concerned through for necessary action.

“When I activated my account following the bank’s proper procedure, I changed my password. Therefore, the bank cannot take a stand that I divulged the details. From the details given by the bank, it is clear that the money was withdrawn after cloning my SIM card.,” he said in his complaint.

“The bank contacted me three days after the incident and by that time, through 21 transactions, Rs.19.31 lakh had already been withdrawn in a fraudulent manner,” he alleged.

He said all banks have to comply with the necessary Know Your Customer norms and the bank could have immediately recovered the money from the accounts of those involved.

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