Chennai: Woman attempts suicide after losing her savings to phishing

A gang wiped out almost her entire bank account in a trice.

Chennai: A 40-year-old woman attempted to kill herself by consuming toilet cleaning acid after a phishing SMS and call promising her Euro 50,000 (Rs 37 lakh) had wiped out her entire savings in her bank account.

The single mother who is working in a textile store had a balance of Rs 25,800 in her account last week. After she received a message in English on her mobile, which carried the news that her mobile number had won the amount, she gave her bank details to a man who spoke to her Tamil.

Within minutes she received message saying her balance was now just Rs 800.
Unable to withstand the grief, the mother of a 7-year-old daughter, S Muthulakshmi, of Kannadapalayam near Tambaram, attempted to commit suicide and was admitted to Rajiv Gandhi government general hospital last week. Based on the advice of the Tambaram police, she lodged a complaint with the cyber crime cell.

“When she responded to the message she had received she got a call and man spoke to her in Tamil. She was asked to deposit Rs 1.5 lakh as ‘refundable’ amount. When she said she was poor and did not have so much cash in her bank account, the man asked for her bank details, ATM card number and PIN number which she gave.

“The caller also told her that because she was poor, there was no need to deposit '1.5 lakh. That also prompted her give all the bank details to the caller. Within hours she lost her entire savings,” police noted. Last month a police personnel working at the all woman station in Tambaram lost Rs 12,000 in similar fashion, police added.

Sources said that phishing SMS / calls are becoming very common nowadays and those who don't respond to such luring messages can protect their savings.
Most gangs like these operate from somewhere near Delhi, probably out of a BPO-like setting. They employ people who can speak different Indian languages and deploy them according to the target states.

Though the city police busted a racket a few months ago and arrested half dozen people from Delhi, it appears similar gangs are still active.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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