Diwali is upon us and the festivities have begun. But for one Kurla resident, Human Resources manager Sangita Gupta, this festive season only brings tears as her savings account with HDFC Bank was wiped clean of all its contents apart from a paltry Rs 600, allegedly by an online transaction. Sangait was shocked over the weekend when her debit card was declined and her bank records showed 3 transfers worth of Rs.54,000 from her account to e-Commerce sites.
Sangita Gupta, an HR manager with a leading telecom company, was in for a rude shock over the weekend when she realised that her savings of Rs 54,000 was gone. The crime came to light over the weekend when Gupta tried to withdraw some money from an ATM but to her surprise, her card was declined.
Gupta, a Kurla resident said, "At first I thought that the ATM was malfunctioning but when my card was declined again, this time, at a departmental store I panicked. The initial embarrassment turned to fear and stress and when I called up the bank, it was revealed that over Rs 50,000 had been transferred from my bank account, without my knowledge or permission."
Gupta added that worried of the crime, she rushed to Kurla police station and lodged a complaint. Initial inquiries revealed that the money from Gupta's account was transferred via three accounts into the company accounts of three international e-commerce sites for software publishers and online retailers. Additionally, it was also discovered that there were several complaints filed against the websites for illegal transfers in the past.
Gupta further added that she, like the many complainants, had never heard of these companies before the incident and was surprised how they could access her account. "I am cautious enough to never disclose my security details and bank details to anyone in person or over the phone," said Gupta.
Rajesh Bhojwani, Branch Manager, HDFC Bank (Malad, Link Road), confirmed that the bank had received a formal complaint. "It is apparent that Gupta's security details pertaining to her account were compromised. Our concerned departments are investigating the case and we shall be reverting to the aggrieved party soon in writing" he said.
Another study done by the CAG on potential trade on the Internet and e-commerce websites had showed that 73 per cent of them allowed several modes of payment, only 7 per cent offered guarantee for products sold and 60 per cent had no mechanism to register complaints. There were very few redress mechanisms, and even their implementation was not enforced. The number of cases (e-fraud) that the Central Bureau of Investigation had registered was less than 50, and only one had reached the prosecution stage. The lack of experience of cyber forensic specialists compounded the problem,
Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code is always applicable. There is no legislation and/or law anywhere in the world that would prevent fraud. Fraud will always exist. It can be mitigated, controlled, but never zero.