Hyderabad Cyber Crime Police have issued an advisory asking the public to be wary of fake customer care service numbers on Google. The advisory comes after several instances of people being duped and losing lakhs from their bank accounts were reported. The Cyber Crime police with the Cyberabad Commissionerate said they were receiving numerous complaints of customer care service fraud involving various sites and advertisements on Google. Police found cyber fraudsters posting their advertisements and listing them at the top of the search on the Google platform to cheat the public. The general public searching for the customer care service numbers of various products and services end up calling these numbers that are listed as advertisements.
Police said that the cyber fraudsters hail mostly from Punjab, Haryana, UP, Bihar and Jharkhand. Some fraudsters pretending to be customer care executives convince their victims to part with debit or credit card numbers and UPI PIN numbers. While a few fraudsters get their victims to install remote access applications on the devices enabling them to view and steal sensitive bank details and UPI PINs.
In one instance, a complainant from Kukatpally in Hyderabad called a fake HDFC credit card customer care number listed on Google and lost Rs 1,61,000 from his HDFC bank account. The complainant was facing issues while making a credit card payment of Rs 32,052 through net banking but the amount was not remitted to the credit card account. So the complainant searched for the HDFC credit card customer care number and reached out over the number listed on Google.
The fraudster pretending to be a bank executive sought the complainant’s bank account details and asked him to install TeamViewer and QuickSupport app on his mobile phone. After installation, the customer was asked to transfer an amount of Rs 1 to a Google pay account. The unsuspecting customer followed the instructions given by the fraudster and lost his money through 12 transactions. He then approached the police when there was no response from the fake customer care number.
In another instance, a resident of Balanagar, Hyderabad, had made a payment of Rs 2,800 to his friend through the mobile wallet app, Phonepe. However, when the amount did not get credited to the intended bank account, the customer searched for the Phonepe customer care number in Google and reached out to the number. The fraudster sought the bank account details of the PhonePe customer and instructed him to download AnyDesk app on his mobile phone. Soon after entering his Axis bank account details, the customer lost Rs 72,905 through five transactions.
Applications such as AnyDesk, TeamViewer, SMS to Phone and QuickSupport enable remote access to a person's mobile or computer devices. This enables the fraudsters to secretly view and even access sensitive information such as bank account details, PIN, and OTP.
The Cyber Crime Police advised the public to not fall into the trap of fake customer care numbers found on Google search. Not everything found on Google Search is genuine, said the police.
They also told people not to share any bank account/card/wallet details with customer care persons, as such details are not required to resolve customers' issues. Further, they said not to download any remote access applications (like TeamViewer, Any Desk, Quick Support, SMS to Phone and other Apps) even if a customer care person instructs to do so, as this can allow a fraudster to note down all bank/card details and cheat. The police also requested the public to make calls to original customer care numbers by obtaining them from the authentic apps or websites of the concerned product/service.