Phone frauds using debit & credit cards, e-wallets increasing: MHA

New Delhi: Phone frauds, especially by using debit and credit cards and e-wallets, besides fraudulent transfers of funds, are on the rise and have became a matter of concern, the home ministry has said and asked all states to take immediate action to check such crimes.

The ministry has also designated the Intelligence Bureau as the nodal agency for coordination with state governments for facilitating investigation into all such cases. In a communication, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said it has been noticed that financial frauds involving mobile phones and e-wallets are being carried out by fraudsters adopting various modes of operations.

“With the increase in use of digital payments by the common Indian public, phone frauds, especially through debit/credit cards and e-wallets are also rising. Such frauds are committed using or involving a payment card, such as a credit card or debit card, to fraudulently transfer funds from such card to an e-wallet account,” the ministry said.

The purpose of such frauds may be to buy goods without paying or to obtain unauthorised funds from an account and the credit card fraud is also an adjunct to identify theft. In most of cases, the frauds are under Rs 50,000.

A few cases are of the kind where the customer himself revealed debit or credit card details, ATM PIN or OTP and fell prey to the fraudsters while in a few cases financial frauds have been committed even without the customer being at fault or being aware of it, the ministry said. In such e-frauds, the cheated money is routed first to e-wallets.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs is concerned about rising phone frauds…An inter-ministerial committee on phone frauds has been constituted under the MHA which is periodically reviewing various aspects of dealing with phone frauds,” it said.

A coordination division of the Intelligence Bureau has been designated as a central nodal agency to coordinate with the state and union territories for facilitating investigations, the ministry said.

The division is in the process of developing a web-based common platform for coordination among law enforcement agencies and nodal officers of wallet companies.

The Reserve Bank of India has been requested to direct all e-wallet providers to their nodal officers for better coordination with law enforcement agencies.

All states were told to designate one Additional Director General of Police or the Inspector General of Police-Crime as nodal officer for coordination with different agencies on matters of phone frauds, share best practices and suggestions to curb phone frauds.

The states and UTs were requested to strengthen their information exchange network and enhance cooperation as most such crimes are done by inter-state gangs. Coordinated multi-agency actions be taken in villages and towns from where most of the phone frauds emanate followed by through investigations, the ministry said.