Bengaluru Entrepreneur Narrowly Escapes This SMS Scam: How To Not Fall For This Old-School Technique

Amidst tech-savvy digital scams, an old-school form scam, claiming to be your family friend is now trending. Keep your vigilance high and here are steps to stay safe.
How To Not Fall For This Old-School Technique
How To Not Fall For This Old-School Technique

After phishing bank SMS last month and fake SMS on utility payments, a new digital scam from Bengaluru is trending where scamsters use the names of your family members to fraud you. Aditi Chopra, a Bengaluru-based entrepreneur shared her distressing experience with a financial scam from which she escaped narrowly. Though you may be well-read on tech-savvy scams, you may keep your defences low on such simple forms of scams.

Aditi Chopra's ordeal started with she received a call during a work session, purportedly from someone claiming to be an acquaintance of her father and said he wanted to urgently transfer funds to her father via Chopra.

Aditi on May 2, 2024, posted on the X platform, "Was busy on an office call when this elderly sounding guy calls me and says, translated (Dear Aditi, Your father asked me to send money to him, but money transfer to him is not working. So he asked me to send money to you. Check if this is your number".

Then the elderly guy recited her mobile number aloud to verify her as if verifying his phone number, Aditi said. Immediately, Aditi received two SMS notifications, seemingly showing credits into her account, all while he remained on the call with her.

"I first received an SMS mentioning Rs 10,000 credit, then another SMS showing Rs 30,000 credit, all while he was on the call. Then, he suddenly gets all worked up and says he erroneously transferred Rs 30,000 instead of Rs 3,000 which her father demanded."

He then requested immediate repayment of Rs 27,000 creating a sense of urgency that he was in the hospital and needed money for the medical emergency. "The kind of urgency he was creating by crying out loud that he sent extra money, and that he is at the doctor, before sending the UPI IDs to send the remaining amount back is where their real game lies," Aditi said. One could fail here but she didn't. "I know my dad over-explains everything and triple-checks in matters of money. He would have called beforehand and given me more context than needed," Aditi says.

The doubt led her to check the SMSes closely, revealing that "that they are from a 10-digit phone number, not a branded company ID." Of course, when I called back in a minute after checking my accounts, I was blocked, Aditi said.

SMS Phishing

In a similar vein, last month phishing bank SMS scams were trending which targeted unsuspecting individuals, saying that their accounts would be blocked if not KYC-updated. Thus trying to get them to divulge sensitive information is the plan.

To stay safe, one should verify the authenticity of SMS notifications, and also report to their respective banks or seek clarification before acting on it. Don't click on unidentified links or disclose personal information. Always install applications from official and trusted sources such as Google Play Store and Apple App Store etc. Adopt the latest operating system and security patches, and use two-factor authentication for online banking.

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