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FIA finds the educated ‘equally vulnerable’ to online bank fraud

Updated November 08, 2018

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FIA claim to have arrested 15 suspects [this week] in connection with the online bank fraud.— Reuters/File
FIA claim to have arrested 15 suspects [this week] in connection with the online bank fraud.— Reuters/File

LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency, Punjab, claimed on Wednesday to have arrested 15 suspects [this week] in connection with the online bank fraud in which ‘impostors’ allegedly deprived people of millions of rupees. Some of the victims include well-educated people.

“We have a case with us in which a retired army officer has been defrauded by an imposter who obtained his bank details (pin-code of credit/debit card) introducing himself as a Subedar (a non-commissioned army man) and deprived him of his money (in the bank),” FIA Punjab Additional Director (banking/cyber crime) Hammad Raza Qureshi told Dawn on Wednesday.

“I asked the retired army officer how come you being a well-aware person provided your bank details to the impostor,” he said.

In another case, Mr Qureshi said a professor deposited Rs1.2 million with the account of a ‘fraudster’ who offered her an online job in the United States. “We are surprised as to how are the educated persons falling prey to these online frauds.”

“The online banking fraud is on the rise and both educated and illiterate persons are its victims,” Mr Qureshi said, adding the FIA Punjab has arrested this week 13 suspects of banking fraud from Sargodha and Chiniot.

“We are working on various complaints but we want that the people should not provide any [bank] information to any one even someone introducing himself/herself as a bank official,” he said.

Mr Qureshi said the people should not respond to telephone calls from imposters that they had won a cash prize or a car under Benazir Income Support Programme or else. “In most of the cases the FIA ends up finding fake IDs of the SIMs used for such calls. Awareness can be an effective tool to save oneself from such online frauds,” the FIA officer said.

FIA Cyber Crime Incharge (Gujranwala) Asif Iqbal told Dawn that there had been a phenomenal increase in the number of online bank fraud complaints.

“We have arrested two suspects in Hafizabad for depriving as many people of Rs500,000 after obtaining the code of their credit cards,” Mr Iqbal said, adding that FIA had been working on other complaints and would soon make more arrests in this regard.

“Compared to 2017, this year there has been a manifold increase in online banking fraud and the people needs to be cautious about this,” he said.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018

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