Thursday, July 1, 2010

RBI issues advisory on fraudulent emails - - 01 Jul 2010

If you are bugged with fraudulent e-mails filling up your inbox everyday saying that you have won a million dollar lottery which you never purchased or enticing remittance in foreign currency, then you are not alone. Equally concerned about the growing incidences of fraud emails is the Reserve Bank of India.

Addressing mediapersons on Wednesday, Jasbir Singh, regional director, RBI Chandigarh, said all they could do was spread awareness about these emails so that gullible residents do not loose their money through fraudulent transactions.

Admitting that a large number of such mails are in circulation and some even have the fake scanned letterhead of the RBI and official signatures, Singh said, “We are not an enforcement agency. RBI does not have any investigative powers to trace and book the culprits. The Directorate of Enforcement is the investigating agency. Victims should approach the Cyber Crime Cell of the police to lodge a complaint.”

RBI has also launched an awareness programme in the print and electronic media to educate citizens.

Singh added that RBI has set up a help desk to entertain queries and the information is also posted on the bank’s website where residents can clarify their doubts regarding the mails.

The regional director, however, said that no formal complaint has been received by RBI from the Chandigarh region so far in this regard, though a number of queries have come up.

“We do not have the data to ascertain the number of people who have been tricked through these emails but no complaints were submitted either. We gather information about these cases from the media and feel there is a need to make people aware about the fictitious offers,” said Singh.

Several circulars have been issued by the RBI since December 2000 cautioning authorised dealer banks against remittances towards schemes involving money circulation while commercial and cooperative banks have been asked by RBI to give out warnings about the fake offers in their respective branches.

When asked why banks in the country were opening accounts without proper verification, which are used to receive the money, and why RBI was not taking any stringent action against them for not being able to trace online transactions, Singh said such lapses in verification are a rare occurrence. “The banks are being advised to be more cautious and extra vigilant,” he added.

A word of advice

People should ignore such mails and not pay any money to participate in such schemes. They should immediately contact the local police station/Cyber Crime Cell to register a complaint. In case of doubt, residents may refer to the RBI website.

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