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Case studies

Dr Indu Grewal learnt to be careful about divulging her account and credit card details the hard way. The 42-year-old chief medical officer (CMO) at the Central Health Education Bureau lost Rs. 80,000 to a credit card fraud in October last year.

delhi Updated: May 10, 2012 00:42 IST

She revealed her credit card details on phone
Dr Indu Grewal | CMO, Central Health Education Bureau
New Delhi

Dr Indu Grewal learnt to be careful about divulging her account and credit card details the hard way. The 42-year-old chief medical officer (CMO) at the Central Health Education Bureau lost Rs. 80,000 to a credit card fraud in October last year.

A regular credit card user for more than 10 years, all Grewal did was divulge her credit card details to a caller, posing as a bank customer care executive.

"The caller asked me if I had made a transaction of $39 using my credit card. When I said no, he explained that as per Reserve Bank of India guidelines, I have to send a request to the bank's customer care to cancel the transaction," said Grewal.

The caller, Grewal said, told her that he was transferring her call to the customer care section. A few seconds later, a woman came on the phone line and asked her to share her personal as well as credit card details.

"I fell in their trap and shared the details. She gave me an 11-digit number to which I was asked to send a request to cancel the transaction," said Grewal.

"A few minutes later, I sent the request and received an SMS, stating that my card had been blocked. I received two more SMSes showing that two transactions of Rs. 40,000 each had been made from my account," Grewal added. She then called up the bank's customer care service and was informed that the transactions had been carried out in Mumbai.

And Grewal's trauma did not end there. It took her more than three months, and a couple of recommendations from senior police officers, to get an FIR registered at the New Friends Colony police station.

But even after four months, investigators are yet to make a breakthrough in the matter.

They tampered and encashed his cancelled cheques
Anant Shroff | Investment banker
New Delhi
Dealing with bank-related issues was a cakewalk for investment banker Anant Shroff, until he became a victim of an organised 'cheque encashment fraud'. A resident of Lajpat Nagar, Shroff, 28, works with a private investment company in Kolkata. He was in Delhi when the conmen, who use 'cheque-washing' technique to rob people, targeted him in July 2011.

"They lured me by offering a car loan from a government bank. One Manish Kumar claimed to be the bank's direct sales agent and said they wanted to offer me a car loan," he said.

On August 8, a runner boy was sent to his residence to complete the formalities and collect some filled cheques. Shroff gave him seven signed cheques, including a cancelled one.

"Two days later, I got a call from my bank's relationship manager who said someone claiming to be my brother had inquired about my Kolkata residence and mobile number. I became alert but before I could do anything, two cheques, including the cancelled one, were tampered with and encashed," said Shroff. He suffered a loss of over Rs. 85,000.

Shroff said that the fraudsters got his mobile number blocked by submitting false identification documents.

"They did not want me to get SMSes regarding the transactions. I contacted the branch where the cheques were encashed and saw the cheques. They were faded, indicating they had been washed with some kind of chemical to remove the details," said Shroff.

Delhi Police are yet to make a breakthrough in his case.

'Inflow of complaints is rising'
How challenging is the rise of ATM/credit card/cheque frauds?
The challenge is big. Inflow of complaints is rising and we have a limited number of investigators. Also, there is a lot of document-related work which makes the investigation tedious .

There is a perception that Delhi Police, EOW in particular, is least interested in registering complaints.
Not all economic frauds come to us. We deal with sensitive cases, or when courts ask us to take up a case or those involving Rs. 2 crore or more. We accept all complaints but after initial verification, transfer them to police stations.

What is EOW's present strength and how sufficient is it?
EOW is headed by a special commissioner of police who is assisted by a joint commissioner. A deputy commissioner of police (DCP) with three additional DCPs supervises four assistant commissioners. We also have other police staff. We are improving our strength.

What precautionary measures should the public take?
Carry out safe transactions. Do not share pins with strangers. Avoid taking their help while filling cheques. Always press the ATM's Cancel button after your transaction. Banks too must be cautious.