Hacker tries to divert Rs. 16 lakh from Cameroon to a fraudulent bank account

: An unidentified person has hacked into e-mail exchanges between a Sivakasi-based export consortium and an African customer and attempted to siphon off Rs. 16 lakh which was due to the exporter here.

Based on a complaint lodged by the consortium managing director K. Saranyan on Friday, the City Cyber Crime police have taken steps to block the financial transaction made by the African customer to the fraudulent bank account created by the hacker.

While the case is under investigation, the complainant has alerted his customer in Cameroon to lodge a police complaint in his country for a simultaneous investigation.

The consortium, with its registered office here, has been exporting safety matches and coir products since 2005. It has been doing safety matches business with the Cameroon-based customer for the last three years, Mr. Sarayanan told The Hindu here on Sunday.

“Almost 80 per cent of our interaction with our customers is through e-mail though we also use telephonic conversations,” he said.

Their financial transaction is done between the banks through SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) which, Mr. Saranyan said, was similar to the telegraph money order. The money is transferred to the bank account in Sivakasi.

The hacker has sent mail to the Cameroon-based buyer claiming that the name of the export consortium and its bank account number had changed.

“The customer was asked to deposit the money (due for the consortium) to a new bank account in Allahabad,” Mr. Saranyan said.

The buyer had made the payment (usually in US dollars) worth over Rs. 16 lakh to the new bank account on September 16.

“We came to know about the whole fraud only when the intimation was given by the buyer about the money transaction, which did not mention our name,” Mr. Saranyan, said.

The city Cyber Crime police have intimated the bank about the fraud and asked it to stop the transaction in Allahabad. The managing director said that he was not sure about which e-mail account, whether that of the consortium or the e-mail ID of the buyer, was hacked.

“Whichever e-mail id is hacked, the hacker can go through the content of the communication made by both ends,” he said.

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