Before calling customer care numbers think twice

Next time you call a customer care number found online, make sure you do not share your bank account details to the person on the other end of the call.

Conmen advertise fake customer care numbers online to swindle money from accounts of gullible people, according to the police.

The newly formed cyber crime team of the Triplicane police district have stumbled upon two such cases in which the complainants called the fake customer care numbers of an e-commerce site and a digital wallet platform and lost their money. “This is a new trend that is happening now,” said a police officer.

While the team, comprising sub-inspectors Johny Chellappa and V. Vimal, was able to retrieve the entire amount in one incident, the process is on to recover the money in another.

In one incident, the complainant, Mahalakshmi, booked a mobile phone on an e-commerce site for ₹10,000. “She purchased one for the online classes of her children. As the product was not delivered on time, she searched online and called a mobile number that appeared at the top of the search results as a customer care number,” said an officer.

The person on the other end spoke to her in Hindi and after listening to her complaint asked her to share the bank details. “He sent an OTP and she shared the same with him. In no time, ₹10,000 was deducted from her account. Luckily, the fraudster made an online purchase. She immediately lodged a complaint with us. We requested the bank to initiate chargeback and she got the entire amount,” he added.

However in another incident, the complainant was not so lucky as the case was reported after 13 days. “Munusamy was using a digital wallet platform and he transferred some money from it to his bank account. However, as the amount was not credited in his bank account, he searched online for the customer care number of the digital wallet company and found a mobile phone number,” he said.

The conman on the other end took the bank details and sent an OTP. “After Munusamy shared the password, close to ₹1 lakh was swindled from his account. We recovered some money that he had transferred to another digital wallet. Process is on to recover the remaining amount,” said an officer.

The police have warned people not to fall prey to conmen after calling such fake customer care numbers advertised online or elsewhere. “Don’t share OTP, CVV number, bank account details over phone. The sooner they give the complaint in the nearby police station or cyber crime team in respective deputy commissioner office, the chance of recovering money is higher,” said G. Dharmarajan, deputy commissioner, Triplicane.

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