The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has warned individuals about the growing prevalence of scams using modern communication methods such as SMS, emails, instant messaging, voice calls and OTPs. The central bank has published a brochure entitled “BE(A)WARE – Be Aware and Beware!” to raise awareness about this.
The RBI said the growing number of scams was directly linked to the growing importance of digital payment systems since the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, as the speed and ease of financial transactions have improved, the number of reported frauds in retail financial transactions has also increased. Scammers have used innovative methods to defraud people of their hard-earned money, especially new entrants to using digital platforms who are not fully familiar with the techno financial ecosystem, RBI said in the booklet.
Some of the cases highlighted by RBI include fake loans and OTP scams. In the first case, scammers pose as representatives of banks and NBFCs and offer loans to individuals with attractive interest rates and offers. When individuals approach the crooks to apply for these loans, the crooks charge the victims money upfront in the name of various fees before they get away.
The OTP scam occurs when scammers send text messages, emails or calls to victims with offers of loans or extending their credit card limit. Scammers then provide fake phishing links or collect important call details including OTP under the guise of official demands. These details are then used by the crooks to perform illicit financial transactions emptying victims’ accounts.
The RBI has suggested the following steps to stop getting scammed:
“The brochure aims to raise awareness of the modus operandi adopted by fraudsters to defraud and mislead them, while informing them of the precautions to be taken when carrying out financial transactions,” the central bank said.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)