Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal has sent an email to the company’s 350-plus million-plus customers warning them against rising cyber-fraud cases in the country. In the email, Vittal has asked Airtel users to be vigilant against cases of cyber fraud which he says are becoming “alarmingly frequent”. He cites a recent instance of fraud where a scamster posed as company executive and tricked users into revealing bank details under the guise of KYC form update. In the email, Vittal also talks about common financial fraud and modus operandi of such cases. He also details out safety measures for its customers and things they should not be doing..
Do not share your personal and financial information with unknown apps claiming to be UPI apps
“There are several fake UPI apps and ecommerce websites which appear authentic in design through the usage of NPCI, BHIM words and logos. If you download one of these, you will be asked to enter all your bank details as well as your MPIN thereby granting the fraudster in question complete access to your bank details,” Vittal writes in the email.
Sharing OTPs over phone/SMS
Vittal explains that a fraudster may call the customer claiming to be from a bank/financial institution and then ask for account details or an OTP to unblock/renew the existing bank account. The details are then used to withdraw money from the customer’s bank account.
Responding to messages/calls asking for updation of KYC
A fraudster may pose as the company executive and ask you to reveal bank details and other personal information under the guise of updating KYC form. Once he has access to these details, he may use it for a financial transaction.
Do not believe in mails/SMSes offering prizes/rewards/vouchers
Do not open suspicious websites and apps nor fall prey to unbelievable offers or prices on such sites.
Do not reply to so-called emails from Income Tax Department, Visa or MasterCard offering refund or points/rewards
The letter further advises customers not to provide any confidential information via email or click on any suspicious link, even if the request seems to be from authorities like the Income Tax Department, Visa or MasterCard, and others. “Do not open unexpected email attachments or instant message download links. Additionally, installing antivirus software will help. It scans every file you download and protects you from malicious files,” he informed customers.
Do not make online transactions at public places like cyber cafes or using public WiFi
In the email, Vittal asks users not to access payment options or make payments from computers in public places like cyber cafés. One should also avoid transacting using public WiFi and through unprotected mobile phones.
Sharing customer ID, MPIN over phone, SMS or email
One of the safety measures that Vittal advises its customers is not to share any financial or personal information like your customer ID, MPIN, OTP over the phone, SMS or email.
Delete such SMSes asking for info immediately
Do not follow instructions in any SMS sent from an untrusted source. Delete such SMSes instantly. Never ever click on links, attachments or instant message download links.
Airtel Safe Pay has a “very sound way” to avoid fraud, Vittal says
In the letter, Vittal suggests using ‘Airtel Safe Pay’ describing it as a “very sound way” to avoid fraud. The app, he says, provides an additional layer of security for every transaction. “In other words, before you actually make a payment, our network intelligence throws up a message asking you to confirm the transaction. And the money only leaves your account once we have received your approval, thereby ensuring you are not vulnerable to fraudsters,” he writes.