Mumbai

COVID-19 lockdown: fraudsters cash in on loan moratorium, rise in digital payments

Account holders queue up to withdraw salaries, pensions and Jan Dhan payments outside a Bank Of Maharashtra branch in Nagpur on Monday.

Account holders queue up to withdraw salaries, pensions and Jan Dhan payments outside a Bank Of Maharashtra branch in Nagpur on Monday.   | Photo Credit: SSudershan

Police issue advisory against installing screen-sharing apps, revealing sensitive information

With banks offering moratoriums on loan instalments and recommending digital transactions for ease of business during the lockdown, fraudsters have been quick to capitalise on the situation and cheat unsuspecting citizens.

Banks have announced the option of suspending repayments of loans for three months so as to not strain the finances of their customers during the nationwide lockdown. To avoid long queues or crowds at branches, banks have also been encouraging customers to use netbanking for transactions.

Mumbai Cyber police officials said that over the last couple of weeks, they have observed an increase in phishing calls where fraudsters call their targets posing as bank executives.

“Instead of the usual spiel about updating know your customer (KYC) details or the accounts being frozen for whatever reasons, this time the fraudsters are using the loan moratorium as their gambit. They are now convincing their targets to reveal details like netbanking PINs to supposedly speed up the process,” a cyber crime officer said.

The officer said the other modus operandi is to convince the targets to download screen-sharing apps to their cell phones and grant access to fraudsters. Once the fraudsters can see the screens while the targets are logging into their netbanking accounts, stealing the PIN and hacking the account is child’s play.

An advisory issued on Monday by the Mumbai Cyber police warned people against installing screensharing apps like AnyDesk, QuickSupport, Airdroid and TeamViewer.

“Any request for sensitive details like the PIN should by itself be a red flag, as no banking executive is allowed to ask for such information. Nor will the banks want their customers to install any apps other than the bank’s official app,” the officer said.

Banks, too, have been sending similar advisories by email and SMS to customers, cautioning them against falling prey to such scams.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 3:07:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/covid-19-lockdown-fraudsters-cash-in-on-loan-moratorium-rise-in-digital-payments/article31273082.ece

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