Saturday, January 29, 2022

Mumbai cops struggle with fake bank calls menace

According to the police, most of the fraudulent callers ask for the intended victims’ card details pretending to be from their bank, the ‘ATM wing’ or the Reserve Bank of India.

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai |
January 29, 2017 2:46:12 am

Even as people continue to fall prey to fraudulent calls from ‘bank officials’, especially after demonetisation, the Mumbai Police is struggling to come up with a mechanism to end the menace. Officers said often, the amount involved in individual cases is small, and the racket is spread across several states. According to the police, most of the fraudulent callers ask for the intended victims’ card details pretending to be from their bank, the ‘ATM wing’ or the Reserve Bank of India.

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Probe in several cases has shown that the calls are usually made from Noida, other places in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, an officer said. “If the victims share their details, the money is often found transferred to accounts in Jharkhand. The SIM cards are registered in Kerala,” he added.

“It is difficult to send three teams to different parts of the country for the same crime. At times, local elements tip off these callers and they flee,” said an officer with the cyber wing of the Mumbai Police . “Also, if the amount lost is around Rs 15,000, the cost for our men to go and apprehend the callers is more than what we recover,” he added. “Hence, on most occasions we wait for several cases that point to the same network of fraudsters. Then we send teams to these places to solve several cases in one go. However, we dismantle their set-up and return, only to find out that they have started operations again a few months later.”

The officer said that according to their estimates, hundreds of fraudulent calls are made daily. “A small percentage of these calls result in actual theft, if the receiver is not well-versed with the banking system. While there is no official data since we do not register FIRs in all cases, a few complaints come to police stations across the city daily,” he added.

When The Indian Express called up some of these numbers, they were all switched off. A call identifier app showed one number to be from Bihar, while two others were shown as ‘Bank ATM’ and ‘ATM card expiry’.

A police inspector said they had been approaching banks, asking them to create awareness among customers. “We also need to set up a system to co-ordinate with the police of other states. Sometimes, the local police is not too interested in pursuing a case.”

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