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Coronavirus EMI scam alert! Protect yourself from online fraudsters

Moratorium offered by banks on home, car, personal and credit card loan is offering an ideal opportunity to these fraudsters to play with psychology of gullible customers

twitter-logoAnand Adhikari | April 9, 2020 | Updated 16:03 IST
Coronavirus EMI scam alert! Protect yourself from online fraudsters
A fraudster approaches the bank customer posing as a bank representative offering a three-month moratorium on her loans

Two kinds of viruses are currently attacking the people and the communities. One, the coronavirus or COVID-19, and second are the hackers and the online fraudsters. Both the viruses kill. The coronavirus takes your life and an online fraud hits you financially, killing your hard-earned savings. The highest risk segment comprises old people, pensioners and those from smaller cities, semi urban and rural areas. "Fraudsters are taking advantage of the current situation," says Sameer Ratolikar, Chief Information Security officer at the HDFC Bank. The moratorium offered by the banks on home, car, personal and credit card loan is offering an ideal opportunity to these fraudsters to play with the psychology of gullible customers. Following is their modus operandi:

Call or mail to offer loan moratorium

A fraudster approaches the bank customer posing as a bank representative offering a three-month moratorium on her loans. They ask for bank details such as log-in ID, password and card number. Once a customer discloses it, they immediately initiate a transaction and get back to ask for one time password (OTP). Customers must know that banks never ask for their password and OTPs. Never share passwords or any other bank or card details.

Asking you to download an app to opt for loan moratorium

The hacker or fraudster sends the bank customer an app link via SMS and ask him to download the app for getting the three-month moratorium on loans. This app, once downloaded, instals a virus, malware or a Trojan horse, which then captures all the key strokes in a handset or desktop and sends it immediately to a hacker. Here again, the hacker comes back disguising as a bank representative to ask for an OTP to complete the moratorium transaction. So, never share your OTP.

Social media phishing

The hackers and fraudsters have phishing tools and crawlers to search for customer details on bank websites, Twitter and Facebook pages. This gives them some basic information about customers and their relationship or past grievances. They use this information masquerading as bank representative to get friendly with the customer. They offer the moratorium terms to customer and get back asking for the OTP to complete the moratorium formalities.

These are three prominent ways through which hackers or fraudsters are conning people. If you fall prey to a fraudster or a hacker, approach your bank immediately and also report the matter to the cyber crime cell.

Also read: India Coronavirus Live Updates: Modi govt draws 3-phase plan to fight COVID-19; country's tally at 5,095

Also read: RBI proposes, SBI disposes; banks resist moratorium to NBFCs

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