How often do you get calls threatening you to link your Aadhaar to your SIM card, or else… Or else, Shashwat Gupta who works in a private company in Kerala was told, his SIM card will be deactivated and his phone number blocked forever. A desperate Shashwat believed the person on the other end, and ended up losing Rs 1.3 lakh in the process.
Confused? Here’s what happened.
On October 2, Shashwat received a fake call from a cyber-hacker, who pretended to be an Airtel employee. He then forced Shashwat to link his Aadhaar card to SIM saying that his SIM will be blocked with immediate effect otherwise.
“A fraud, claiming to be from Airtel, gave me an ultimatum that Airtel would deactivate my SIM and block my number forever as I had not linked my Aadhar card to my SIM. He urged me to message my SIM card number to 121 (Official Airtel Service Number) and my SIM would be reactivated without any hassle. Little did I know that the fraudster would clone my SIM and loot all my hard earned money and also take away Investments (Fixed Deposits) that I had planned on using during the worst times of my life,” Shashwat writes in a Facebook post.
Once his SIM card was cloned, the scamster withdrew Rs 1.1 lakh from Shashwat’s ICICI bank account, raising serious questions about security of both the ICICI account, and the use of Airtel’s official service number by fraudsters.
On October 3, Shashwat’s father received a call from ICICI bank to confirm if a transaction of Rs 1,10,000 was made from Shashwat’s account. Shashwat was aware of the bank loot only after receiving his father’s call. He rushed to the bank to alert the authorities of the illegal transaction.
On reaching the bank he was advised to call customer care and freeze his debit account. Shashwat requested the ICICI customer care to freeze his debit account on October 3, following which he registered a complaint with the police station on the incident.
But on the very next day, another transaction of Rs 24,100 was made by the cyber-hacker, and this, after Shashwat’s repeated request to ICICI to freeze his account.
Putting the blame on ICICI for lax security, Shashwat wrote, “It is unbelievable how easy it has become to steal from our accounts. All the fraudsters are doing is trying every trick they can think of to get that one tiny key that would break open a safe that seem to be safeguarded by hundred different locks.”
“The saddest part of this is, after the loot on day one, ICICI Bank was not able to protect the balance amount. Even after 18 hours of raising Service Request and repeated follow ups on customer care and branch, the Bank was not able to freeze my balance and as a result early next morning the fraudster was easily able to walk away with the remainder amount. Dear ICICI Bank, are your services supposed to end in crisis or are you supposed relieve the customers’ grievances and prevent further damage?” he asked.
“ICICI didn’t give me assurance that I would get my lost money. I had to escalate the matter to the senior management to speed up the process. I still haven’t got my money refunded. ICICI has refunded the amount that I lost on October 4, i.e. 24,000. There has been no response regarding the main amount in dispute, Rs 1.10 lakh,” he said.