Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cyber goons go ‘phishing’, airport employee poorer by Rs 1.5 lakh - expressindia - 19 Sep 2008

New Delhi, September 18 On August 22, airport employee Parveen Puri received six messages on his mobile from the ICICI bank informing him that Pradeep, Sonali and Neha had accessed his account on the Internet and withdrawn Rs 50,000 each.
Puri froze. That money was his salary and bonus and he did not know any Pradeep, Sonali or Neha.

Since then, Puri has been sprinting between the bank’s branch and several police stations trying to get back his money, or even trace where it might have landed. The bank maintains it is a case of ‘phishing’ which would mean the password to Puri’s account fell in wrong hands during one of his electronic transactions. The police — at the Inder Puri station, and even at Connaught Place — have only asked him one question: What is Internet banking? They are yet to register a case. Puri, who works at the IGI Airport, said: “I had left my cell phone with my daughter that day. She told me about the messages.”

The first message read: “You have registered Pradeep as a payee. Please enter your unique registration number 441225...” — to complete transaction. There were two other similar messages, registering ‘Sonali’ and ‘Neha’ as payees. Then there were three more in the next few seconds saying Rs 50,000 had been debited each to Pradeep, Sonali and Neha’s accounts.

“I panicked and immediately called the bank. All other transactions were immediately put on hold,” Puri told Newsline. He said: “Next morning I rushed to the police station near my house in Inder Puri. They would not register my complaint and asked me how transactions were made on the Net. The officer also directed me to the station in Connaught Place, which is where the bank’s branch is.”

Here too, officers refused to register a case, saying it would only be done after proper investigation. The ICICI Bank on the other hand directed Puri to its Mumbai office, which handles the net banking division. There has been no reply from there either. However, the bank offered to compensate Rs 50,000 by September 1, but still no money in his account.

Puri said: “The message asked for the unique registration number each time to confirm payment. This number is crucial for any transaction. The culprit knew this number too. He typed it thrice to take out money.”

A spokesperson for the bank told Newsline: “The case is being investigated. We shall take action based on what we find.” But Puri has given up hope. “When things went wrong, the bank became faceless. There were no answers,” he said.


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