Cyber frauds hack FD details; cheat account holders

Officials said the case was still under investigation and that efforts were on to track the money

HYDERABAD: Cybercriminals hit upon a new method to cheat bank account holders. They started opening fixed deposits (FD) of their targets and using them to secure overdraft, according to the police.

One of the victims, D. Vaijinath, a 77-year-old retired officer, said around Rs 13.50 lakh was siphoned off from his eight fixed deposits (FD) which were meant for his grandchildren.

“On January 18, hackers gathered some basic information from me by posing as SBI agents and asked me to download an app and enter my banking credentials. They also asked me not to visit the bank for two days and took control over my accounts,” Vaijinath told this newspaper.

“Sensing fraud, I immediately asked the bank to transfer my funds to the FD, assuming that it was safe. However, the scamsters obtained an overdraft (OD) facility in four hours on all eight FDs. It is because of the weak and unsecured net banking systems of banks which is resulting in a heavy loss to customers,” Vaijinath said.

He approached the cybercrime police of Cyberabad on January 28, following which an FIR was registered. Officials said the case was still under investigation and that efforts were on to track the money.

According to the cybercrime police, in this new scam, fraudsters obtain login credentials of their victims through phishing and either create FD accounts to transfer money from the victim’s account, or use the FDs to obtain OD loans.

“They first create an FD account of the target with the help of their net banking details and transfer some amount. Taking advantage of the victim's vulnerability, the fraudsters ask for OTP by posing as an official of the SBI. Once the victim shares the OTP, the criminals transfer the FD amount into their own account. In cases of victims having FDs, they simply opt for OD loans and transfer the amounts,” explained an official.

A spokesperson from the State Bank of India (SBI) said the bank had issued an alert for customer-depositors about the new fraud taking place using the FDs. “We had come across recent reports where cybercriminals have created online fixed deposits in customers' accounts to carry out frauds and conducted social media campaigns warning the customers about the same,” he said.

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