In­ter­net cos team up to tackle e-frauds

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global - Dig­bi­jay.Mishra

Bengaluru: Seven lead­ing in­ter­net com­pa­nies are band­ing to­gether to save their con­sumers from the ris­ing men­ace of cy­ber frauds be­ing car­ried out by dup­ing in­no­cent users, where the money is be­ing si­phoned off from their ac­counts.

The com­pa­nies tak­ing ac­tion in­clude travel ma­jors MakeMyTrip Group and Oyo Ho­tels & Homes, mo­bile pay­ments firm Paytm, on­line food de­liv­ery ag­gre­ga­tors Swiggy & Zo­mato, be­sides ride-hail­ing gi­ant Uber.

Three peo­ple aware of the mat­ter said these com­pa­nies met the Re­serve Bank of In­dia (RBI) last week to make a joint rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the is­sue and how to curb these on­line frauds — en­gi­neered via fake toll-free num­bers and se­rial

Vol­ume share of fraud risk (in %)

Cy­ber­crime

Card-skim­ming

Funds trans­fer

Data theft

Iden­tity theft bank ac­count gen­er­a­tors, among other meth­ods. About 4,000 SIM card num­bers and 350-400 bank ac­count num­bers have been shared with the RBI, State Bank of In­dia (SBI) and the tele­com com­pa­nies, whose ser­vices are used to fool the un­sus­pect­ing con­sumers.

These tech com­pa­nies have also reached out to Google about how its search en­gine is used by cy­ber­crim­i­nals to make their fake toll-free num­bers ap­pear on top of search re­sults. This leads to some of the con­sumers be­liev­ing the fake num­ber to be the le­git­i­mate num­ber of the com­pany. Some even go on to set up fake web­sites mim­ick­ing the orig­i­nal ones.

Over the past cou­ple of weeks, ex­ec­u­tives from these in­ter­net com­pa­nies met se­nior of­fi­cials of SBI, Airtel and other stake­hold­ers, sources added. Among the com­pa­nies that are part of this coun­cil, MakeMyTrip, Swiggy, Zo­mato and Paytm have con­firmed the de­vel­op­ment to TOI. Go­ing for­ward, more on­line firms are ex­pected to join the group to share their fraud data to counter such on­line frauds.

In a let­ter ad­dressed to SBI, the on­line com­pa­nies have raised the is­sue of large-scale fraud be­ing at­tempted, us­ing ac­counts in the bank. Peo­ple in­volved in the dis­cus­sion said due to the sheer scale of SBI, most of the mis­cre­ants fool­ing con­sumers to send money or share their sen­si­tive bank de­tails have ac­counts with the largest pub­lic sec­tor bank. Emails sent to the RBI, SBI, Google In­dia and Airtel did not elicit any re­sponse on the mat­ter.

“Peo­ple from non-ur­ban mar­kets or even se­nior cit­i­zens are com­mon vic­tims. These frauds are typ­i­cally done by send­ing SMS from ac­counts sound­ing sim­i­lar to the orig­i­nal com­pany and would have an ex­tra al­pha­bet in the name of the com­pany (say, an ex­tra ‘a’ in MakeMyTrip). This could go un­no­ticed and peo­ple can fall prey to the mes­sages,” a per­son aware of the modus operandi said. What then typ­i­cally hap­pens is that these mes­sages would prom­ise at­trac­tive re­wards.

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