Fraudsters hack toll-free number, dupe customers

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bankBangalore, June 24;Two customers of the State Bank of India have been allegedly cheated of over Rs. 1 lakh after their accounts were allegedly hacked using the bank’s toll-free number (080-26599990).

The police suspect an insider’s hand in the hacking, as this was a dedicated number that allows only incoming calls.

SBI J.P. Nagar branch manager A. Panchaseelam, in his police complaint filed on June 12, said BSNL has configured the dedicated toll-free number for incoming calls only. However, the bank received several complaints from its customers across the country that they were getting calls from the number seeking their account details.

Verifying the complaints, the bank officials found that Tapan Kumar Manna, from Nandigram in West Bengal, who has an account with SBI, had called the number seeking help to change his mobile number listed with the bank.

On January 13, 2013, Mr. Manna received a call from the number and the caller identified himself as “Ashish Mehta, senior executive of the bank”, who said his request would be attended to immediately and sought details of his bank account on the pretext of verification.

The next day, another person identifying himself as Mohan Kumar called him from the toll-free number and sought details for cross-verification. An unsuspecting Mr. Manna parted with the details of his account. But, to his shock a few hours later, he found that Rs. 94,300 had been withdrawn from his account. He immediately checked and found 10 transaction had been carried out the same day.

Similarly, Atul Sawant from Sakinaka, Mumbai, lost money through a similar modus operandi. Soon after Mr. Sawant parted with his account details, he realised he was poorer by Rs. 20,000.

Based on a series of complaints, Mr. Panchaseelam alerted both BSNL and the police.

On verifying Mr. Manna’s complaint, the bank reverted Rs. 94,300 to his account. It is verifying Mr. Sawant’s complaint.

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