Banking News

Beware of electricity bill scam: scammers send a message, then empty bank account


Cybercrime incidents in India are rising with every passing day. According to NCRB, India reported 4,047 cases of online banking fraud, 2,160 cases of ATM fraud, 1,194 credit/debit card fraud cases, and 1,093 OTP frauds. Now, there’s another scam that has tricked hundreds of people around the country so far. In the new scam, scammers send an SMS with a link to people stating their electricity bill is unpaid and they must clear the bill by clicking on the link.

This electricity bill fraud has been going on for the last several months and scammers have managed to empty the bank accounts of many users. While smartphone users should worry and stay alert to such scams, a recent report suggests that cybercrime officials have arrested people behind the scam from a district in Jharkhand. But that doesn’t mean such incidents can’t happen again. You must never click on links sent to you via text message or even WhatsApp.

As per the Cybercrime officials, the electricity bill scam was running from Jamtara in Jharkhand. These scammers hacked people’s phones with a text message that stated their electricity bill is unpaid and that they should clear it immediately.

It is said that the gang first contacted SIM card vendors to get bulk SIM cards to send scanned messages to people. These scammers then created a bank account to receive the fraudulent money. Next, they sent messages to people asking them to pay their pending electricity bills.
The fraud message received by most people reads, “Dear Consumer, your electricity will be discontinued tonight because your previous month’s bill was not updated. Please click on the following link to pay the bill.”

If the victim clicked on the link provided in the SMS, they are either directed to a telecaller or to a website where they are asked to clear their pending electricity bill. People unaware of the scam often added their bank account details and the money was directly debited from the account. In most cases, these telecallers often posed as BSES officials and asked for bank account details.

Over a thousand complaints related to the electricity bill scam have been filed across the country, revealed Delhi Police.

As per recent reports, the Delhi Police’s Cyber Crime Unit has arrested 65 persons who were allegedly cheating people with this electricity bill scam. It is said that majority of such scam incidents were conducted from Jamtara in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. Notably, the Jamtara gang is well known for cheating individuals through various means.

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