350 million Airtel users at risk of KYC fraud: how to detect these scams, tips to stay safe

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The incidence of online fraud is growing at an alarming rate. Earlier this week, Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal warned millions of customers about the growing number of online fraud cases, which have become more frequent due to the increase in online transactions in the post-Covid-19 era.

In an official email, Vittal urged customers to be wary of cyber-fraudsters posing as Airtel executives on the pretext of updating the Know Your Customer (KYC) form and to be wary of calls made to deceive them. Ray Sinha, a senior analyst at IoT Analytics, told BGR.in that since the onset of the epidemic in 2020, such incidents of KYC fraud have been increasing at an alarming rate.

Sinha highlighted that such scandals have increased since people started spending more time with their mobile phones. The epidemic has pushed us all into the virtual world rather than the real world and evil scammers are using it to their advantage and deceiving users to steal their personal data and money.

In the email statement, Vittal further explained that “Customers may receive a call or message from a fraudster claiming from a bank / financial institution and request an account statement or an OTP to unblock / renew an existing bank account.” “Details are then used to withdraw money from the customer’s bank account. So I urge you to pay attention and proceed with care and do not share any financial or personal information like customer ID, MPIN, OTP etc. on the phone, ”he added.

In addition, Vittal has warned users about fake UPI apps and e-commerce websites that look authentic in design through the use of NPCI, BHIM words and logos. “If a customer downloads one of these, he will be asked to enter all his bank details and his MPIN which will give the fraudster full access to your bank details,” he said.

“Please avoid such suspicious websites and apps and avoid sharing any confidential information via email or by clicking on any suspicious link in the email, even if the request seems to be from authorities such as the Income Tax Department, Visa or MasterCard,” Vittal said.

How to detect such scams

There are several ways to detect such scams. First, users need to be more careful and aware of the things around them.

One of the basics is that users should never share an OTP or personal details with strangers or even acquaintances. Sinha explained that using OTP, such scammers can often mirror a user’s phone and gain access to all his activities, data as well as money.

He added that with the concept of eSIM, mirroring a phone has become a much easier task than before. So, to avoid falling victim to such incidents, users must be aware and be able to detect such fake scams.

Tips for staying safe

Tip 1: Users should not install third party applications on your mobile device. Android users are advised to go to the settings menu and block third-party applications.

WhatsApp scandal

Photo: Pixabay

Tip 2: These scams mostly follow a patterned message. So, whenever you receive a message for OTP details or your personal information, double check the recipient’s number / source. Your text message should also be cross-verified because scam messages often follow a different pattern than the original bank message.

Tip 3: Scammed messages often have spelling errors or grammatical problems. Double check suspicious messages.

Tip 4: Users should always verify the information with the official website or application. For example, if you receive a suspicious message from an Airtel executive for KYC details, go to the official website or app, login with your number and check if there are any such notifications available to you. If not, the message you received is a scam.

Tip 5: One of the most common safety tips is to never share OTP with anyone. OTPs are called a secret code and should not be shared with anyone you know or do not know.

The post 350 Million Airtel Users at Risk of KYC Fraud: How to Detect These Scams, Secure Tips First published in BGR India.

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