Concerns have arisen as fraud accounts in both banks and digital wallets have been discovered, used to collect illegal funds for online scams and illegal transactions. Investigations conducted by the Cyber Bureau in response to complaints have revealed that individuals with harmful intentions have been exploiting government documents and photos, such as citizenship certificates, passports, and driver’s licenses, to establish verified accounts in digital wallets and withdraw cash from various banks.
According to officials from the Cyber Bureau, these criminals have acquired valid government documents from various sources to open digital wallet accounts and engage in unauthorized financial activities. Several incidents have been documented as examples of this alarming trend.
Incident 1: On July 4, 2080, Sudeep Baral (name changed), an employee of Nepal Electricity Authority, fell victim to a phone call impersonating Esewa. Believing the call to be genuine, he disclosed his OTP code, only to discover but later that Rs. 180,000 had been withdrawn from his account. Investigations revealed that the funds had been transferred to a pocket digital wallet under a different individual’s name.
Incident 2: Samba Gurung (name changed), a Major in the Nepali Army, had his Facebook account hacked. The hacker used his account to solicit money from friends in Esewa and Khalti wallet accounts, resulting in Rs. 60,000 being collected in his name. Further investigation revealed that the personal details used for these accounts were fake.
Incident 3: Jakkan Aryal (name changed) of Butwal had Rs. 65,000 mysteriously withdrawn from his National Commercial Bank account. The bank initially claimed that Aryal had initiated the transaction, but it was later discovered that the associated wallet’s citizenship and mobile number were mismatched.
Incident 4: A complaint of online fraud led the Cyber Bureau to an account opened at Machhapuchhre Bank. However, the documents used to establish the account did not match the account holder. It was found that the individual’s documents had been misused to create the account, resulting in multiple people falling victim to the fraud scheme.
Incident 5: 45-year-old Bhimsen Shrestha (name changed) became a victim of a scheme promising a large insurance payout. He was instructed to pay government taxes to access his compensation, totaling Rs. 7.5 lakhs. After the payment, Shrestha realized he had been deceived.
Cyber Bureau spokesperson and Superintendent of Police, Pashupati Kumar Rai, explained that these fraud activities often involve misusing genuine accounts without the account holder’s knowledge. The bureau conducts thorough technical analyses to trace the flow of money, ultimately identifying the culprits behind these scams.
Rai also emphasized the importance of being careful of personal information, such as OTP codes and passwords, and has asked people to gain a better understanding of smartphone features and security. Sharing sensitive information irresponsibly can lead to legal consequences, depending on the circumstances of the case.
While it is crucial to verify personal documents, there are challenges in creating a centralized KYC (Know Your Customer) system. Payment service providers and banks have reported a lack of legal and technical preparations for implementing such a system.
In light of these developments, individuals are advised to exercise caution and ensure the security of their personal information to protect themselves from falling victim to online fraud. Read more…
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