OTPs have slowly but steadily become part and parcel of our lives. Be it for online banking or transferring money via a UPI app. They serve as a layer of security to almost all financial transactions. Which is why it’s ironic that scamsters use this very OTP to dupe victims and make off with their money.
The city with the most reported cases of OTP theft is India’s silicon valley – Bengaluru. People in the IT sector have fallen victim to this fraud and not even a single cybercriminal has been arrested so far.
How does this fraud occur? OTP Theft explained.
In a report for the Economic Times, a Bengaluru Cyber Crime police official shed light on this scam. Hackers first gather information about the target’s bank and then call him/her saying that they are bank employees. On the pretext of updating or renewing credit/debit cards, they ask for the card number and CVV. Finally, they ask the victim to check for an SMS and send it back to them.
This SMS usually has encrypted text and a link. When clicked, the link gives access to the hackers and OTPs are automatically forwarded to them. These can now be used to complete money transfer into their account.
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What can we do to avoid being conned?
Online frauds are on the rise in India with several people losing lacs to it. In most cases though, a certain amount of vigilance can foil the fraudster’s plans. If anyone tries to pressure you into giving them your card details or OTP, refuse! Banks do not ask for sensitive information, ever. And be wary of SMSes with suspicious texts or links. These might be malware designed to gain access to your phone.
Stay alert, stay safe.