Hello, a missed call can cost you dear

Mobile phone users, beware! A scam that may drain the balance amount in your phone is surfacing across the region.

A circular issued by the Ernakulam Rural Police has warned the public not to call back unknown numbers from abroad. Hundreds of phone users across all mobile networks have been targeted in the past couple of weeks in the scam in which fraudsters give a ring, making users think that it is a missed call.

Phone users, under the impression that it is a missed call, immediately call back and are subsequently billed exorbitant sums for the ‘privilege’ of listening to pre-recorded messages. Official sources said the fee for such calls, often originating in countries with highest toll rates, is known to be split between scamsters and the network. A verification by the Cyber Cell has now established that such one-ring calls, most of which begin with +591, are from Bolivia.

Another scam

Besides the ‘missed call’ scam, the police have also advised people against ‘mobile swapping fraud’, in which fraudsters seek details of your Aadhaar account in the guise of changing the mobile phone number from ten to twelve digits. The details thus shared, according to the police, could be used to withdraw money from your account.

Rise in cases

Meanwhile, the department has noticed a considerable rise in online banking fraud cases in the region of late. Usually, fraudsters contact unsuspecting people over phone in the guise of a bank executive and reset all their mobile banking passwords, using phone as identity and the One Time Passwords (OTPs) sent to the phone.

The police have requested people to alert them immediately upon realising the fraud and not to delete the text messages intimating the financial transaction carried out by fraudsters. “It would be better if the victims could alert us within an hour of the incident, so that we could contact the bank concerned and the mobile wallet company to cancel the transaction. Recently, we were able to salvage most of the cash defrauded from the bank accounts of residents of Kothamangalam and Ernakulam,” said a top officer with the Ernakulam Rural Police.

As a precautionary measure, people have also been advised to contact their banks and make sure that the service of international online transaction is not activated in their account. “Since transactions under this window do not require OTPs, it poses a great deal of risk to customers as well,” the official added.

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