Fraudsters are now faking even Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) documents and circulars. Many such fake documents contain the names of genuine RBI officials. However, their contents are entirely false, according to S.K. Maheshwari, General Manager (Foreign Exchange Department), RBI.

All documents and circulars of the RBI are uploaded into its site - www.rbi.org.in. – and hence the public could cross-check anything purported to RBI circular they receive.

Addressing a press conference here to raise awareness on foreign exchange fraud on Monday, he said that fake websites of RBI or banks were being created to lure unsuspecting individuals. “While RBI only picks up secondary information, the number of complaints of such online frauds is high in Chennai. The RBI is getting a complaint almost every day,” he said.

Online scam

A typical online scam involves informing a person via email or SMS that he/she has won a lottery in a foreign country and is asked to deposit a sum for transaction fee.

The tricksters get somebody to open a genuine bank account for such scams by giving them a share, he said, adding that the money gets withdrawn immediately after the victim deposits it.

He said that such transactions were in violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.

The RBI was conducting an awareness campaign to sensitise the public to such scams besides issuing circulars cautioning banks authorised to deal in foreign exchange.

While it is the major type of fraud, lottery was not the only method, he said, adding some others which included promising exporters better prices in exchange for a ‘registration fee' or offering loans at cheaper interest rates.

“The main targets of such scams are the middle class who possess mobile phones and email ids. The fraudsters play on the human greed,” he said.

Avoid cafes

A.J. George, RBI Assistant General Manager, said that the website of all banks had ‘https' in the prefix of their website with the ‘s' standing for secured websites.

While fraudsters could create fake bank websites with similar designs and similar sounding website address, (for ex: www.rbii.org.in), their sites would have only ‘http.'

Banks never asked their customers the PIN details especially over the telephone except while using their website.

He also urged the public to avoid conducting bank transactions in internet cafes.

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