In the olden days, stealing money from a bank used to require a lot of labour. It would involve a lot of digging, fighting with the guards and, if the Joker was involved, an entire school bus.
However, as the security system has evolved with time, bank robbers had to come up with smarter methods. Just last week we saw the use of a sim cloning device. And now we’ve some scamsters from Maharashtra exploiting a loophole in Google Maps.
According to The Hindu, Maharashtra cyber police noticed a trend that the contact information on the Google Maps page of a bank was being altered to extract information from unsuspecting customers. Superintendent of Police, Balsing Rajput said,
“We have received at least three complaints from the Bank of India (BoI) over the last one month. In all three instances, we immediately notified the authorities at Google.”
To put it simply, if you go to Google and search the name of any bank, Google will show the bank’s nearest branches and its contact details. But here’s the catch. Those numbers can be edited by anyone due to Google’s User Generated Content Policy. So, when you call on that number, you’re not talking to a representative of the bank, but a person who’s posing to be one.
SP Balsing Rajput said that these scamsters would convince customers to reveal their Personal Identification Number (PIN) or the CVV numbers of their debit or credit cards. And that would allow them to withdraw money from these accounts. A BOI spokesperson said,
“After these incidents came to our notice, we modified the contact details on these branch listings on Google Maps. We asked users to use only Bank of India’s official website to search for branch contact details.”
A Google spokesperson’s response to this fiasco was as follows:
Although the Government is pushing hard to make India a digital country, they’re missing out on a key point. And that’s to educate people about digitisation and make them aware about every facet of the technology they’re using. However, until that happens, please don’t call the numbers given on the Google Maps page. Instead, click on the ‘contacts’ page of the bank’s website and use the details given there.