This Is How I was Almost Robbed Off My SBI Savings Bank Account (FD Scam Explained)
Incidents of reported bank frauds and online scams are increasing with every passing day, their techniques getting more sophisticated, leaving the common man and supposed security levels, more vulnerable than ever.
With the ongoing government bank mergers and the current financial year coming to an end, there are complaints regarding connection error in bank servers while transactions, especially on the Internet banking and the UPI fronts.
One can only assume the level of susception an account holder falls into, at times when a layer of financial security dangles through a thin thread.
All of these annotations I am stating, adds up to a zoomed out and appalling incident of how I almost lost a hefty amount of over Rs 50,000 in a transient window of just 15 minutes.
How Sure is ‘Being Sure’?
At 3:10 pm on March 8 (Monday), I received a call from an unknown number. Being a working hour and a Monday, I answered the call, only to be left unshaken and casual by what the caller had to say.
The caller identified himself as an SBI officer, calling to verify/validate my DOB (date of birth), stating the requirement for March closing. I simply replied by saying that I would verify the same by visiting the SBI branch.
The caller also claimed that SBI had sent me a message regarding the DOB verification call, to which I repeated that I would do that only at the branch.
It was then, the caller started reciting my PAN card number and halfway through I disconnected the call. I blocked the number and in a nutshell, did not:
- Verify any personal details, and/or
- Provide the caller with any details.
The call itself lasted for not more than 20 seconds. I was pretty sure it was just another spam call. However, how sure is being sure? I was about to be petrified by the answer.
From Thousands to Tens (Units)
Fifteen minutes after receiving the call, directed by a strange feeling, I unlocked my phone and logged into my YONO (SBI digital banking) app.
I had Rs 55034.18 in my account. However, the savings bank balance flashed on my screen at that moment was Rs 34.18, in red.
I had been wiped off of Rs 55,000 in only fifteen minutes, without any message of transaction from the bank. The horror setting in, took the shape of a mental wall, blocking any sense of action to my brain.
Skipping forward, I rushed to the nearest branch of SBI and dictated the entire incident to the branch manager.
However, on entering my account number on the bank’s system, he found out that the entire sum had been transferred to the Fixed Deposit under my account, which is why I did not receive any transaction message from the bank.
I was asked to change my Internet Banking password.
Where is your Money Safe?
On speaking with a bank official, I learned that the mode of transaction was Internet banking.
The fraudster had hacked my internet banking ID and password (despite having put a difficult password) and used the https://www.onlinesbi.com/ portal to conduct the act.
The only part which was unclear to the official and I was the reason behind creating a fixed deposit.
I also learnt that the same incident took place with three other SBI users on that same day, at different branches.
By 4:00 pm the same day, I retrieved my money into the SB account successfully. In a period of only 45 minutes, I got the closest to losing a huge amount of money.
Although the bank officials played a vital role in retrieving my money, a big question pounds on the security level of SBI’s online space.
The fraudster was able to hack my account and conduct a transaction through it without me sharing any of my bank/personal details or an OTP.
An incident of this nature displays the level of security layers of SBI and how easy it is to seep and bypass it.
I use this platform as a medium to ask, “If our money is not safe in the largest and oldest bank of the country, where is it?”