In a bid to warn customers against fraudsters who may attempt to exploit the EMI moratorium scheme, leading banks are reaching out to their customers to caution them against ‘EMI moratorium frauds’ and strongly advising them not to share
sensitive information like OTP and PIN with imposters.

Over the past few days, Axis Bank, State Bank of India and other banks have sent out SMSs and e-mails to their customers informing them about new modus operandi being adopted by fraudsters and cyber criminals, to gain access to banking details.

Asking customers to protect their financial details, Axis Bank said in an e-mail to customers said fraudsters have started a new modus operandi to gain access to banking details.

Imposters may contact you to help postpone your EMI payments and request you to share OTP, CVV, password or PIN related to your banking accounts, it said.

“Stay aware! If the details are shared, the fraudster can have unwarranted access to your banking information leading to financial loss. Beware of EMI Moratorium Frauds!,” Axis Bank said.

In a tweet on April 5, country’s largest bank SBI had said a new style of cybercrime has been started by fraudsters and warned people to “Be Alert & Be Aware”. “In such frauds customers get calls asking them to share their OTP in order to postpone their loan EMIs. Once the OTP is shared the amount is immediately siphoned away by fraudsters,” it said.

To give relief to borrowers hit by COVID-19 lockdown, the RBI last month announced that all term loans, including retail and crop loans and working capital payments, will be covered by the three-month moratorium on EMI payments offered.

Earlier, State Bank of India (SBI) had also cautioned people against fake UPI IDs doing rounds in the guise of Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance & Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES).

“Make sure your monetary donation to fight against the global pandemic is going into the right hands,” SBI said.

HDFC Bank Chief Information Security Officer Sameer Ratolikar said the fraudsters are always on the look-out for newer reasons to execute their designs and the EMI moratorium has emerged as a favourite one.

This is being executed by deploying several modus operandi, including calling the gullible people “offering” a moratorium on their loans which results in sending of some web links to compromise personal data or send messages over SMS or WhatsApp, he said.

Some of them also send links for installing dubious unrated apps on their phones through which many compromises become possible, he said.

Ratolikar said the key aspect for customers is not to share one-time passwords (OTPs), personal identification numbers or other confidential details like CVV numbers of their cards, making it clear that any transaction cannot go through without these details.

He also made it clear that no bank will approach a customer seeking these confidential details and anybody seeking such information should immediately trigger suspicion in the minds of people.

The bank, however, clarified that it does not have a single incident of a fraud being noted yet, but is going by anecdotal evidence and market intelligence to caution everybody.

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