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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cautioned individuals against SMS, email, instant messaging, phone calls, and one-time password (OTP) frauds. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released a booklet titled "BE(A)WARE - Be Aware and Beware!" to raise awareness about fraudulent transactions.

This booklet has been compiled from various incidents of frauds reported as also from complaints received at the offices of RBI Ombudsmen to provide maximum practical information of value, especially to those who are inexperienced, or not so experienced, in digital and electronic modes of financial transactions. The booklet is intended to create awareness among the members of public about the modus operandi adopted by fraudsters to defraud and mislead them, while also informing them about the precautions to be taken while carrying out financial transactions," RBI has said in the booklet.

SMS / Email / Instant Messaging / Call scams

Modus Operandi

  • Fraudsters circulate fake messages in instant messaging apps / SMS / social media platforms on attractive loans and use the logo of any known NBFC as a profile picture in the mobile number shared by them to induce credibility.
  • The fraudsters may even share their Aadhaar card / Pan Card and fake NBFC ID card.
  • After sending such bulk messages / SMS / emails, the fraudsters call random people and share fake sanction letters, copies of fake cheques, etc., and demand various charges. Once the borrowers pay these charges, the fraudsters abscond with the money.

Precautions

  • Never believe loan offers made by people on their own through telephones/emails, etc.
  • Never make any payment against such offers or share any personal/financial credentials against such offers without cross-checking that it is genuine through other sources.
  • Never click on links sent through SMS / emails or reply to promotional SMS / emails.
  • Never open/respond to emails from unknown sources containing suspicious attachments or phishing links.

OTP based Frauds

Modus Operandi

  • Fraudsters impersonate as NBFCs, send SMS / messages offering loans or enhancement of credit limit on NBFC/bank customers’ loan accounts and ask the customers to contact them on a mobile number.
  • When the customers call such numbers, fraudsters ask them to fill out forms to collect their financial credentials. Fraudsters then induce/convince the customers to share the OTP or PIN details and carry out unauthorised transfers from the customers’ accounts.

Precautions

  • Never share OTP / PIN / personal details, etc., in any form with anyone, including your own friends and family members.
  • Regularly check SMS / emails to ensure that no OTP is generated without your prior knowledge.
  • Always access the official website of the bank / NBFC / e-wallet provider or contact the branch to avail their services and/or seek product and services related information and clarifications.

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