Google Maps loophole: 60-yr-old loses ₹97,000

Scamster convinces victim to reveal bank account details

A senior citizen lost ₹97,000 from his pension account last month after scamsters put up their own contact number in place of the contact details of the Bank of India’s Vikhroli branch on Google Maps. The Powai police have filed an FIR and launched a probe.

The Hindu had reported in November how scamsters had taken advantage of a loophole on Google Maps, where an establishment’s contact details can be edited by anyone and customers calling the number are convinced to reveal sensitive bank details.

The Powai police said Dattaram Malpekar, 60, a retired officer with a private group, had to submit a life certificate to his bank as per government notifications, and found on November 15 the branch had been shifted from Vikhroli to Ghatkopar.


Mr. Malpekar said, “I didn’t know the new address of the branch and decided to search for it online. There was a contact number along with the address and I decided to call it. The person at the other end identified himself as an officer with the branch and asked me what I needed. When I told him I wanted to submit my life certificate, he said it could be done online and asked me for my account details as well as account balance.”

On learning that Mr. Malpekar’s pension account only had around ₹4,000, the supposed officer asked him if he had any other account. Mr. Malpekar said, “The man kept me talking, not giving me a chance to think. He convinced me to reveal all sensitive details of another savings account. He also generated an online fund transfer and coaxed me to give him the One Time Password for the transaction. He then told me that my work would be done soon. It was only after I hung up that I started receiving text messages about money being debited from my savings account.”

In a few minutes, ₹97,000 from Mr. Malpekar’s savings accounts was transferred to other accounts. He rushed to his branch to inquire and learnt he had been cheated. Mr. Malpekar then submitted an application to the Powai police on November 16. An FIR was registered a week later under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act.

Senior police inspector Anil Pophale confirmed that the FIR had been registered and investigation is in progress. An officer with the Powai police said that the contact number used by the accused was found to be registered in Gurugram and the account to which the money was transferred was in the name of a tours and travels agency in Jammu.

A Maharashtra Cyber Crime officer said, “It is a typical case of cyber crime where elements stretch across State borders. The money is transferred to accounts in far flung States after which it is either transferred through various accounts to the masterminds or withdrawn and sent in cash to make the tracing the trail of money challenging.”

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:05:41 AM |

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