Airtel CEO warns cyber-fraud cases are becoming 'alarmingly frequent'
Telecom operator Bharti Airtel's CEO has warned customers about rising cases of cyber-frauds, citing a recent instance of a fraudster who posed as company executive and under the guise of updating KYC form, tricked a user into revealing bank details to transfer large amount from the bank account.
In an email outreach to subscribers, Gopal Vittal, CEO of Airtel urged users to be vigilant against such cases of cyber fraud that are becoming "alarmingly frequent".
Vittal spoke of a recent case where a cyber-fraudster posing as company executive called up an Airtel customer on the pretext of updating his Know Your Customer (KYC) form, tricked him into revealing his bank details and transferred a large sum of money from his bank account.
"Unfortunately, such instances of cyber fraud are now becoming alarmingly frequent. So, I urge you to be vigilant," Vittal said.
Common instances of fraud include fake UPI handles and websites and fake OTPs, he informed.
"There are several fake UPI apps and ecommerce websites which appear authentic in design through the usage of NPCI, BHIM words and logos. If you download one of these, you will be asked to enter all your bank details as well as your MPIN thereby granting the fraudster in question complete access to your bank details," Vittal wrote.
Elaborating on the modus operandi for fake OTPs, he explained that a fraudster calls the customer claiming to be from a bank/financial institution and asks for account details or an OTP to unblock/renew the existing bank account. The details are then used to withdraw money from the customer's bank account.
Vittal also listed out precautions to safeguard against these frauds, advising customers not to share any financial or personal information like your customer ID, MPIN, OTP over the phone, SMS or email.
Safety measures detailed out also asked users not to follow instructions in any SMS sent from an untrusted source; deleting such SMSes instantly; not opening suspicious websites and apps nor fall prey to unbelievable offers or prices on such sites.
Do not share your personal and financial information with unknown apps claiming to be UPI apps, Vittal said, also urging users not to provide any confidential information via email or click on any suspicious link, even if the request seems to be from authorities like the Income Tax Department, Visa or MasterCard, and others.
"Do not open unexpected email attachments or instant message download links. Additionally, installing antivirus software will help. It scans every file you download and protects you from malicious files," he informed customers.
Vittal also suggested using 'Airtel Safe Pay' describing it as a "very sound way" to avoid fraud.
Airtel Safe Pay is the safest method of paying online in the country, and provides an additional layer of security for every transaction, he said.
"In other words, before you actually make a payment, our network intelligence throws up a message asking you to confirm the transaction. And the money only leaves your account once we have received your approval, thereby ensuring you are not vulnerable to fraudsters," he wrote.
To be on Airtel Safe Pay, users need to open an Airtel Payments bank account.
"These are uncertain times and cybercrime is on the rise. So, I urge you therefore to pay heed and proceed with care," he said.