Disappointed with police inaction, farmer takes on cybercriminal, recovers lakhs lost in fraud
Vardhan, who lives in Dwarka in Delhi, had his phone number registered with his father's account at the State Bank of India branch of Sri Ganganagar City
55-year-old Pawan Kumar Soni, a farmer based in Sri Ganganagar City in Rajasthan, became a victim of a cyber fraud when his 26-year-old son Harsh Vardhan opened a link from a phishing message that flashed on his mobile phone. Within minutes, more than Rs 8 lakh was withdrawn from his account in four different transactions.
Vardhan, who lives in Dwarka in Delhi, had his phone number registered with his father's account at the State Bank of India branch of Sri Ganganagar City.
The message, which was delivered on his mobile at around 3.45 PM on Saturday, January 7, said, "Your account is blocked, please update your KYC."Harsh already had a YONO application but the moment he clicked on the link, another duplicate app downloaded on his phone."I thought that I should update my KYC on this new app so I entered my user ID and password. Suddenly, I started receiving messages for the withdrawal of money from my father's account and in seven minutes we lost Rs 8,03,899," Vardhan said.
Later on, he realised that with the help of the duplicate app, his phone was hacked and the user ID and password that he had entered, were accessed by a cyber fraud sitting somewhere else.
The money swindled was a loan that his father had taken under Kisan Credit Card Scheme for farming purposes.
Vardhan called his father in Ganganagar City, who rushed to the bank to inform the manager. Vardhan went to the District Cyber Cell in Dwarka where he was asked to lodge an online complaint and visit the office on any working day.
The bank manager, at the request of his father, acted swiftly and called the local cyber cell. The manager also sent an email to financial institutions to get those accounts blocked in which the money was transferred.
Soni said, "The manager informed me that money went from my account to three accounts - Rs 5 lakh and 1.24 lakh went into PayU, 1,54,899 was transferred into CCAvenue, and the rest Rs 25,000 went into Axis Bank."
Both PayU and CCAvenue are digital payment companies that act as a bridge between customers and business ventures. They collect payments from buyers when they make online purchases and deliver these to the merchants' bank accounts.
"The bank manager informed me that PayU reverted to his email and said that it withheld the money. It also said that if it wouldn't receive any email from the cybercrime dept within two days for the reversal of the amount, it would release the money into the merchant's account," Soni alleged.