Kannur: The cyber police have issued a warning against unidentified people embezzling money from State Bank of India customers by sending them fake text messages saying their accounts have been blocked.
Hundreds of people, including a police sub-inspector in Thrissur, fell prey to fraudsters across Kerala within a week.
The messages issued false warnings to customers, saying that their bank account has been blocked, or that YONO, SBI’s integrated online banking platform, has disappeared or that their online banking facility will be shut down. The messages also provided a link to the scammers website for customers to provide their e-KYC details.
Customers clicking on the link were taken to a website similar to SBI’s, which searches for the permanent account number as well as the user ID and password for online banking. In some cases, the website also asked for the bank account number.
Those who provide the details mistaking the website for that of SBI will get a one-time password (OTP) for verification. Once the user enters the OTP on the website, the money will be debited from the account.
Probe so far
Cyber police discovered that the money was mainly withdrawn from ATMs in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Initially, the fraud was carried out through a single website, but currently multiple websites are in use. Police said once they block one website, another will go live.
Police suspected more than one gang was involved. The similarity with the SBI site and fraudsters avoiding phone calls to obtain customer contact details have made several victims of their vices.
Investigators discovered that the scammers were using the customer’s details to withdraw money using the YONO app, which allows a maximum of Rs 20,000 at a time. However, fraudsters have used the app on several occasions to siphon money.
Police have yet to identify any of the gangsters, who wear face masks when visiting ATMs.
Don’t share details: Police
Cyber police have warned customers against clicking on links received via email, text, or social media, or sharing their account details. For any account related issues, customers should contact the bank before making any changes to their account details.