‘Vhishing’ fraud traps Mumbai businessman

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Prashant Shah, a businessman, received a call from a woman on May 19 claiming to be from a bank where he has an account

Mohamed Thaver

A businessman from Dadar has become victim of a ‘vhishing’ fraud reported to be active in the city for the past year. He lost Rs 55,000 after his “bank” offered him an add-on credit card and took his card details. A month later, when told that he had exceeded the credit limit on his credit card, he realised it was not the bank but some conman who had taken his card details. ‘Vhishing’ involves conmen calling up people posing as bank employees and getting their bank details.

Prashant Shah, a businessman, received a call from a woman on May 19 claiming to be from a bank where he has an account. The woman told him he was eligible for a free add-on credit card. When Shah said he would be interested, she told him a colleague would contact him in a day or two.

“A man called me on May 21 and told me he was calling with regard to the add-on card. He knew my account number, billing address and credit limit. He asked me for further details like expiry date of my card CVV number,” Shah told The Indian Express. He added, “Since the person had many details, there was no reason to be suspicious. I gave him the relevant details and was awaiting my add-on card.”

He then forgot all about it. On June 9, at a multiplex, he tried to make a payment swiping his card and was told the transaction could not be completed since he had exceeded credit limit. “I was surprised since my credit limit is Rs 45,000 and I had not used the card recently. I checked my bank statement,” Shah said.

He found nine transactions between May 21 and June 9 totalling Rs 55,236 that he did not identify. Most transactions were made at online travel portals. “I did not receive an SMS alert for any transaction,” said the 40-year-old. On enquiries, he found that the bank had received an application for changing his mobile number. “Since the fraudster had details of Shah, he changed the mobile number so that he does not get SMS alerts. This is the modus operandi in all vhishing cases,” said an officer from BKC cyber police station.

He approached the RAK Marg police station. Sub-inspector Narayan Nawale of RAK Marg police station said, “We called him a few times but he did not turn up at the police station.” Shah said,

“Police asked me to get a dispute form from the bank, whereas the bank told me it was no a dispute and asked me to get an FIR from the police.”

Eventually, Shah gave an application to the BKC cyber police station that provides technical help in cyber frauds and is likely to join the RAK Marg police in the probe.