Most customers deceived through phone calls; police caution card users
It is every online banking customer’s nightmare — the possibility of one’s credit or debit card being used in a fraud.
In a worrying phenomenon, the city police have found a sudden surge in the number of online bank fraud cases over the last five months, raising suspicions that a credit card fraud racket has resurfaced in Chennai.
The first two weeks this year have alone witnessed 35 cases in which customers have suffered losses of over Rs. 4 lakh.
Officers of the central crime branch (CCB) of the city police said the number of bank fraud complaints received at the commissioner of police’s office in Egmore saw a steady increase from 29 cases in September 2012 to 95 cases in December 2012.
Most of the complaints are from victims of vishing, in which the fraudster gets in touch with a card-user over the phone, and obtains bank account details including the user’s ‘one time password’ in the guise of calling as a bank executive.
“Fraudsters randomly pick victims and called them posing as bank executives offering updates and perks on their existing credit or debit cards. The victims, in good faith, give out their confidential bank details and the perpetrators use them to siphon lakhs of rupees,” said A. John Rose, assistant commissioner of police, bank fraud investigation team, CCB.
The fraudsters have used the card details of victims to book airline tickets, recharge SIM cards and even withdraw large sum of money in different parts of the country and abroad, including in Canada, UK and Australia.
“A sum of Rs. 25,034 was siphoned using my credit card online on December 11, 2012. The transaction was done somewhere in Europe. I think my card was copied when I used it at a hotel in Delhi a few months ago,” said M. Kadhirvel, an employee of a heavy machineries manufacturing firm in Chennai.
In some cases, the perpetrators copied card details of customers using a skimmer device, when the card was used in an ATM in other parts of the country or even overseas. In other cases, online accounts were hacked by fraudsters, CCB officers added.
City police have advised online bank customers and credit cards users to remain vigilant and not divulge their account details to unknown persons even if they claim to be from their bank branches.