India’s Internet penetration may be low by global standards, but the increasing use of the Web for commercial transactions is beginning to show a seamier side.
There has been a significant rise in fraudulent withdrawal of money through Internet or online banking despite stringent regulatory conditions that require all customers to be identified under “know your customer” norms government sources said, citing data from the Reserve Bank of India.
In the first six months of the current financial year ( April to September 2008) as much as 43.66 crore was withdrawn through illegal online deals across the country. That is more than 75 per cent of the amount of Rs 55.8 crore in
fraudulent online transactions.
In the previous two years, the amounts lost in this manner were Rs 10.7 crore and Rs 9.6 crore, respectively.
Typically, the withdrawals involve stealing of passwords and other transaction codes through fake Internet links or Web sites claiming to represent the bank. This is called “phishing.”
The largest number of cases both this year ( April to September) and last year have been reported out of Maharashtra. “Maharashtra has reported 19 and 44 cases during this year and last year where fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 41 lakh and Rs 88 lakh have been withdrawn from various banks,” said a finance ministry official.
“The rise in number of frauds is a matter of concern,” the official said.