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Scam alert: RBI cautions people against SMS, email, instant messaging, call & OTP frauds

Scam alert: RBI cautions people against SMS, email, instant messaging, call & OTP frauds

Scam alert: RBI cautions people against SMS, email, instant messaging, call & OTP frauds
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By CNBCTV18.com Mar 24, 2022 7:40:44 PM IST (Published)

RBI has released a booklet, ‘BE(A)WARE - Be Aware and Beware!’ creating awareness about frauds and listing out precautionary measures, especially aimed at new entrants to the the techno financial ecosystem.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cautioned individuals on the rising prevalence of scams using modern communication methods like SMS, email, instant messaging, voice call and OTP. The central bank has released a booklet titled ‘BE(A)WARE - Be Aware and Beware!’ for raising awareness about this matter.

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The RBI stated that the rising number of scams was directly related to the increasing prominence of digital payment systems since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.


However, as the speed and ease of doing financial transactions improved, the number of frauds being reported in retail financial transactions has also gone up. Scamsters have been using innovative methods to defraud people of their hard-earned money, especially the new entrants in the use of digital platforms who are not entirely familiar with the techno financial ecosystem, RBI has said in the booklet.

Fake loans and OTPs

Some of the cases that RBI highlighted include fake loan and OTP scams. In the case of the former, scammers pretend to be representatives of banks and NBFCs and offer loans to individuals with attractive interest rates and offers. When individuals approach the scammers to apply for these loans the scammers charge the victims money upfront in the name of various fees before absconding.

The OTP scam happens when scammers SMS, email or call victims with offers of loans or extending their credit card limit. The scammers then provide fake phishing links or gather important details over calls, including the OTP, under the pretence of official requirements. These details are then used by the scammers to conduct illicit financial transactions draining the accounts of the victims.

The RBI suggested the following steps to stop getting scammed:

  • Never share personal or financial information with individuals without crosschecking through official channels about their legitimacy.
  • Never click on links sent through SMS or emails, or reply to promotional SMS  emails.
  • Never open emails from unknown sources containing an attachment or links.
  • Always use the official website of a bank or NBFC to avail services (Bonus CNBC-TV18 tip: Ensure that the URL of the bank or NBFC does not have any suspicious gaps or changes).
  • Never share OTPs or PIN details with anyone.
  • Regularly check that no OTPs are being generated without your knowledge.
  • With the publication of the booklet, the RBI hopes to reduce instances where unsuspecting individuals fall prey to unscrupulous financial scammers.
  • "The booklet is intended to create awareness among the members of public about the modus operandi adopted by fraudsters to defraud and mislead them, while also informing them about the precautions to be taken while carrying out financial transactions,” the central bank stated.

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