Industry

When a service turns disservice

Adult, adult only, senior men, background, India, Indian ethnicity,

Adult, adult only, senior men, background, India, Indian ethnicity,

We are living in a high-pressure marketing environment aided by technology, and this has provided opportunities galore for fraudsters to prey on the bewildered and overwhelmed public.

For the gullible and the wary equally, here are some ground rules. Don’t be taken in by cold callers offering you benefits from your insurance company.

If you want to pursue the opportunity, contact your insurance company independently and verify if the offer came from them or from their authorised service provider.

Take for example somebody who approaches you saying he will get you a loan against your insurance policy.

Your insurer is unlikely to be hard-selling this service! Being in the business of risk coverage, insurers have ample and very well-defined avenues to deploy your premium for earning returns, until the time comes to pay your claim, either maturity or death.

Lending against a policy is only a benefit or an accommodation your insurer offers you. It is not a product he wants to sell nor is there a target he has to achieve. He is certainly not going to pay a service provider to go out and get policy loan customers!

So, be wary of calls purporting to be from your insurer or his representative offering you loans against policies.

Similar to this are offers from third parties of help to surrender your policy and get you a premium refund. You don’t need a service provider for it as the insurance company will deal with it quite efficiently and they certainly would not have authorised anybody to provide this service.

Sharing OTP

Now to come to where you can be duped with this ploy. Say you respond to one such dubious offer and share your policy and KYC details, you are typically asked to pay a processing fee upfront, which they will claim is charged by the insurer, after which you will never hear from your friend again!

There can be variations or improvements on this scam where you are asked to share an OTP as part of the loan or surrender processing.

OTPs, as you know, can be misused in conjunction with your identity papers and financial information like bank account numbers and insurance policies to siphon money from your account or for identity theft for a multiplicity of misuses.

The solution

Deal only with your insurance company directly or their agent or broker you know, preferably have dealt with before, or have verified.

You can verify company contact information and credentials through the website of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (www. Irdai.gov.in) and that of any agent, broker or other intermediary through the company by using contact information you have yourself accessed directly. Recently there have been a spate of frauds where customer care numbers of a leading bank picked up from an Internet search result, rather than from the website of the bank itself, turned out to be fraudulent.

Many of these operators now hide behind faceless technology and operate just in cyberspace. You never have to meet them and everything can be done online or on the phone. It appears easier on you than that loan you took 30 years ago when you had to hang around with your hat in hand for a loan or advance.

Remember its easier on those who are trying to pull a fast one on you as well. And once they have what they want, they will vanish without a trace, in a puff of cybersmoke!

(The writer is a business journalist specialising in insurance & corporate history)


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Printable version | May 20, 2022 11:27:16 am | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/when-a-service-turns-disservice/article38038359.ece