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KYC Fraud Alert! Stay Safe from Scammers

  • Highlights: 

  • Impostors dupe people on the pretext of the KYC update regulation and siphon off their hard-earned money
  • RBI has issued a warning and asked people not to disclose any confidential information to unverified people
  • Do not click on links, download apps, or call back numbers mentioned in texts from random private numbers

India is fast moving on the path to becoming a digitised and cashless economy. In the past few years and owing to the pandemic, India has witnessed a rise in digital payments via net banking, e-wallets, and UPI. Consumer behaviour in this space has seen a major shift and the pandemic forced the remaining reluctant ones to adopt digital transactions.

While digital transactions may be easy and convenient, the advancement in technology also has a dark side to it. It gives rise to sophisticated cyber fraud. Imposters and fraudsters with fair knowledge of technology, prey on the fear of common people regarding banking regulations such as the ‘Know Your Customer’ update. 

The KYC Fraud

Ever received an SMS that is similar to this from a private mobile number? Beware, as this is yet another KYC scam. The message instead of a number may also have a link that apparently claims to be redirecting you to the ‘official website’ to update your KYC.

The Modus Operandi

The common modus operandi in KYC scam cases involves unsolicited communication via text, calls, emails, etc., and creating urgency and fear in the minds of the addressees by giving threats or time limits ultimatums. The sender impersonates a legitimate company and all the communication carry threats of account suspension, credit card block, and termination of services.

This eventually scares the person into sharing personal information such as card information, account details, login details, PIN, CVV, OTP, and more.

The scammers may also get the receiver to click on an unverified link. The idea is to get the receiver to install an application to update the KYC. This is in fact an unauthorised and unverified application that mirrors the phone in which it is installed, giving unauthorised access to the customers’ account. The fraudsters, with illegitimate access to the customers’ data, fraud them with money.

How to Stay Protected

The RBI has warned people against online KYC frauds and advised people not to share confidential information with unidentified agencies and people. Apart from urging victims of fraud to report crimes on www.cybercrime.gov.in or call the national helpline number at 155260, the following few tips can help prevent you from falling prey to these KYC fraud crimes: 

  1. Do not click on any unverified links just because the message states that your account will be blocked if you don’t. No legitimate organisation would threaten their customers or suspend their accounts and then ask them to update their KYC.

  2. No matter what, never share confidential data such as OTP, UPI PIN, bank details, and more with any third party. These impostors pretend to be from genuine companies and dupe innocent people.

  3. Do not give Any Desk access to anyone. KYC process has been made digital but no app such as Any Desk is required to be downloaded as part of the process.

  4. Do not share your details on SMS or Whatsapp. No digital e-wallet, bank, or financial provider will do a KYC over a text or WhatsApp.

Despite being on our guard, the best of us can fall prey to these sophisticated crimes. Immediately report these to National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal and the RBI at sachet@rbi.org.in or call the RBI number at 14440. Contact your financial services provider that was being impersonated and block your account immediately, so it cannot be further misused. 

Savdhaan Rahein. Safe Rahein.

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