Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Money mule enter into Indian shores

Even India has not been spared by the fraudsters based overseas. The money mule scam has reached Indian shores According to a senior banker; India is on the fraudsters’ radar because of its liberalization of outward capital flows. Money mule scams are common in countries like the US and the UK.

Recently it has money mule scam has come into notice of the banks that the fraudsters based overseas, posing as global payment companies, luring gullible people into joining them as “money transfer agents” and using their bank accounts to route ill-gotten money.

HDFC bank the country’s second largest private sector bank has filed a complaint on the basis of which the cyber crime cell of the Mumbai police has begun investigations.

Some other private sector banks have also noticed that some of their account-holders are being used as money mules for inward and outward transfer of fraudulently obtained money, but the names could not be confirmed.

HDFC Bank’s chief information security officer, Vishal Salvi, said the bank had helped nab the money mule following a complaint by a customer that he has been a victim of phishing.

Mainly the bank accounts of money mules are used to transfer funds via phishing, an internet-based fraud that steals information like account numbers and net-banking passwords.

“The police are now investigating the case to find the fraudsters behind the fraud who are the ultimate beneficiaries,” Salvi said.

The account-holders, unintentionally working as money mules, regularly receive funds in their accounts and receive instructions on forwarding the money received minus their commission to some accounts in foreign countries, which are closed after short periods. These account-holders fall for quick and easy money but are unaware that acting as a mule is illegal.

RBI has issued a notice a week ago in which it has advised the people not to fall prey to fictitious offers for release of cheap funds claimed to have been remitted by overseas entities to banks in India or RBI. Following this warning the HDFC bank filed a complaint.

The central bank has advised members of the public not to make any payment towards participation in such schemes or offers from unknown entities.

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