Like all Internet banking users, Panchshila Park resident Chandra Kumar Bajpai, a senior citizen, has been happily doing transactions using his laptop for some years now. He is not clicking the mouse too often these days though.
Cyber fraudsters have robbed him of about Rs 2 lakh by phishing his ICICI Bank accounts twice in the past two months. Money was transferred from his current account (Connaught Place branch) to his savings account (Greater Kailash-I branch), from where it was stolen, Bajpai said in his complaint lodged at Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing.
He is the latest addition to the list of ever-increasing phishing victims in Delhi. Phishing is a cyber crime wherein miscreants obtain a gullible customer’s Internet banking details, like user ID and password, by sending fraudulent e-mails or hacking a bank’s website.
Trouble began when Bajpai received an e-mail on May 26 that was tagged as ‘Alert! Renew and secure your Internet banking account immediately!’ The e-mail stated Bajpai had to fill up a form giving the user ID and password of his Internet banking account since the bank was upgrading its server.
What Bajpai did not know was that ICICI Bank had not sent the e-mail. “It looked like an authentic mail. The colour scheme and bank logo looked original,” Bajpai said. He read the e-mail on May 27 evening, clicked on the attached hyperlink and filled the details on a fake web page. The next morning, a bank official informed him that his account had been phished.
His bank statements, copies of which are with Hindustan Times, reveal 11 transactions took place on the intervening night of May 27-28. First, a sum of Rs 21,000 was withdrawn from his savings account to pay off bills in the name of one Sudarshan. Rs 99,999 were then transferred from his current account to savings account, from where Rs 79,000 was withdrawn to pay off more bills in the names of Sudarshan, Keshav, Sumitra and Tony. Similar transactions of the same worth were made that day, making it a total loss of about Rs 2 lakh.
“It is a case of phishing and we are investigating it,” ICICI’s customer service manager Anjana Chheda said from the bank’s Mumbai office.
Hackers accessed Bajpai’s Internet banking account earlier in April too, when Rs 1 lakh was withdrawn from his current account, but the amount was deposited again the same day. The police will carry out a preliminary inquiry and confirm the case details before registering a case, said an Economic Offences Wing officer.