Rajya Sabha member target of debit card fraud

Kolkata, Oct 22 (IANS) Debit card fraudsters on Saturday sought to target a Member of Parliament even as Indian banks strive to tackle the scam that has led to almost 32 lakh debit cards being compromised across the country.

Communist Party of India-Marxist Rajya Sabha member Ritabrata Banerjee on Saturday received a call on his mobile phone from an unknown male caller who sought to know his Adhaar card details.

The caller was insistent on getting the details even when Banerjee told him he would contact his bank.

However, the fraudster disconnected the call the moment Banerjee told him that he would give the number to the police.

“I got a call this morning. As I had missed the call, I called back later. A man took the call and identified himself as a manager of the State Bank of India.”

“I asked him to name the area of his operation to which he replied ‘Bandra Branch’.”

“He addressed me as sir and had called to inform that the bank was blocking ATM cards across the country. He said that to activate my ATM card, I needed to follow some instructions,” Banerjee said.

The caller told Banerjee that he had been assigned by the bank for the job and needed details such as his Adhaar card number.

“I told him I will contact the bank. But he was insistent, saying he has been given the responsibility to talk to me.

“I said I was giving his number to the police right now. The moment I said that, the phone was disconnected.”

According to the MP, despite several efforts the number could not be reached later in the day. He has filed a complaint at a police station here.

In an unprecedented security breach affecting both private and state-run banks, 32 lakh debit cards are estimated to have been “compromised” by cyber malware attack in some ATM systems.

Fraudulent withdrawals have been reported from 19 banks so far. While several of these, including state-run State Bank of India, have recalled a large number of cards, others have blocked the ones suspected to have been compromised.

The miscreants have used the current confusion and widespread panic to call up gullible customers and clean up their money by threatening to block their cards and even close their accounts if they did not divulge their details.