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Incredible Cyber Swindle: Pune Techie Loses Rs 6 Lakh from Bank Account, Barely Had Rs 4 Lakh



Incredible Cyber Swindle: Pune Techie Loses Rs 6 Lakh from Bank Account, Barely Had Rs 4 Lakh

PUNE: In a shocking incident of cybercrime, a software engineer based in Pune was targeted by online fraudsters who gained unauthorized access to her net banking account, resulting in the loss of Rs 6.7 lakh.

According to the police, the incident, which took place on May 1, involved the criminals exploiting the victim’s trust by posing as a bank executive and manipulating her into sharing sensitive information.

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The victim, a 24-year-old woman employed at a prominent multinational Information Technology services company, lodged a First Information Report (FIR) with the Hinjewadi police station. She reported receiving a call from an unidentified number around 1 pm on May 1.

The caller, impersonating a bank executive, informed her about two credit cards issued in her name and offered to suspend the inactive card. Falling for the deception, the woman agreed to suspend the card.

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Under the pretence of verifying her request, the fraudster cunningly extracted the victim’s bank account details, PAN number, and persuaded her to share the one-time password (OTP) sent to her mobile device. Using this information, the cybercriminals gained access to her net banking account and proceeded to alter the registered email address, replacing it with an unfamiliar address registered under the name ‘thedarkpartoflife’.

Within a matter of minutes, the criminals took advantage of the altered email address and secured a pre-approved personal loan amounting to Rs 2 lakh in the victim’s name. The woman received a notification about the loan, which immediately raised suspicions. However, before she could take any action, the perpetrators swiftly conducted seven transactions, swiftly withdrawing Rs 6.7 lakh from her bank account.

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Realizing she had fallen prey to a fraudulent scheme, the victim promptly approached the Hinjewadi police station and lodged an FIR. The complaint encompasses various sections of the Information Technology Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC), primarily related to cheating and criminal breach of trust. Law enforcement authorities have initiated an investigation into the contact details and bank accounts employed by the cybercriminals to uncover their identities.

Cybercrime investigators have stressed the importance of reporting such incidents during the “golden hours,” preferably within 24 hours after the crime occurs. Early complaints significantly aid in the investigation process, enabling law enforcement to freeze fraudulent accounts and minimize financial losses. Prompt action by the victim can enhance the chances of recovering the stolen funds.

In light of this incident, authorities have issued a reminder to the public, urging them to exercise caution while sharing sensitive information over the phone or online. It is crucial to remain vigilant and verify the authenticity of calls and messages received from purported bank representatives. Financial institutions also advise customers to refrain from sharing personal and banking details with unknown individuals, even if they claim to be from the bank.

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Cyber investigators have said victims of cyber frauds and online financial scams should approach the police during the ‘golden hours’ or within 24 hours after the crime has taken place. Investigators said while early complaints can give them an edge in the probe, they can also initiate immediate measures to freeze the fraudulent accounts and try to ensure that the money is not lost.

Here are some tips to protect yourself from online fraud:

  • Never share your personal information, such as your bank account number or PAN number, with anyone over the phone or on the internet.
  • Be suspicious of any unsolicited calls or emails that ask for personal information.
  • Only use secure websites when entering your personal information.
  • Keep your software up to date with the latest security patches.
  • Use a strong password and change it regularly.
  • Be careful about what links you click on.
  • If you think you have been a victim of online fraud, report it to the police immediately.

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