Incidents of online fraud are rising at an alarming speed. Earlier this week, Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal cautioned million of customers upon the rising cases of online frauds, which has become frequent due to surge in online transactions in the post COVID-19 era. Also Read - Reliance Jio vs Airtel prepaid plans hiked: Here’s how much you will need to pay to get 2GB data per day
In an official email, Vittal urged subscribers to remain vigilant about the calls made to the by cyber-fraudsters posing as an Airtel executive on the pretext of updating Know Your Customer (KYC) form and duping them. Satyajit Sinha, Senior Analyst at IoT Analytics told BGR.in that such incidents of KYC fraud is growing at an alarming rate since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Also Read - Airtel offering free 4GB data coupons with select plans, after price hike
Sinha highlighted that such scams increased since the time people started spending more time with their mobile phones. The pandemic pushed us all more to the virtual world than real and the evil scammers are using this to their advantage and tricking users to steal their personal data and money. Also Read - Airtel uses Nokia equipment to successfully conduct first 5G trial in Eastern India
In the email statement, Vittal further explained that “customers can get call or message from the fraudster claiming to be from a bank/financial institution and asks for account details or an OTP to unblock/renew the existing bank account.” “The details are then used to withdraw money from the customer’s bank account. I urge you therefore to pay heed and proceed with care and do not to share any financial or personal information like customer ID, MPIN, OTP etc over the phone,” he further stated.
Additionally, Vittal also cautioned users about the fake UPI apps and e-commerce websites which appear authentic in design through the usage of NPCI, BHIM words and logos. “If a customer downloads one of these, he will be asked to enter all his bank details as well as his MPIN thereby granting the fraudster in question complete access to your bank details,” he said.
“Please avoid such suspicious websites and apps and avoid sharing any confidential information via email or through a click on any suspicious link in the email, even if the request seems to be from authorities like the Income Tax Department, Visa or MasterCard, etc,” Vittal said.
How to identify such scams
There are several ways to identify such scams. First, users will need to be more vigilant and aware of things around.
One of the basic things is, users should never share an OTP or personal details with someone unknown or even a known person. Sinha explained that using OTPs, such scammers can often mirror a user’s phone and get access to all his activities, data as well as money.
He further stated that with the concept of eSIM, mirroring a phone has become a much easier task than ever before. So, to be able to avoid falling prey to such instances, users must be aware and to be able to identify such fake scams.
Tips to stay safe
Tip 1: Users should never install third party applications on your mobile device. Android users are advised to block third party applications by heading over to the Settings menu.
Tip 2: These scams mostly follow a patterned message. So, whenever you receive a message asking for OTP details or your personal information, double check the recipient number/source. You should also cross verify the text message since scam messages often follow a different pattern when compared to original bank messages.
Tip 3: Scammed messages often consist of spelling errors or grammar issues. Recheck suspicious messages.
Tip 4: Users must always cross verify information with official website or application. For instance, if you receive a suspicious message from an Airtel executive asking for details related to KYC, head to the official website or app, login with your number and check if you have any such notification available there. If not, the message you received is a scam.
Tip 5: One of the most common safety tips is to never share OTP with anyone. OTPs are said to be a secret code and should not be shared with anyone, whether you known or unknown.