These WhatsApp chats duped Serum Institute of Rs. 1 crore; check 5 tips to avoid online scams
Fraudsters posing as SII CEO Adar Poonawalla sent WhatsApp messages asking his staffer to transfer money to certain bank accounts. And he did!
No matter how conscious and aware we are about cybercrime and online scams, fraudsters come up with new ways of fooling people and now even companies. As per the latest information, vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) has been duped of more than Rs. 1 crore in a shocking online scam. The company received messages asking to transfer money from fraudsters in the name of the Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla.
The development was confirmed by Pune Police and an official of Bundgarden police station informed that the fraud unfolded between the afternoons of Wednesday and Thursday. While senior inspector Pratap Mankar informed that a First Information Report (FIR) for cheating and offences under the Information Technology Act has been registered against unidentified persons.
How fraudsters duped SII
According to the information provided in the FIR, WhatsApp messages were sent to Satish Deshpande, one of the directors of the SII, from a person who posed as Adar Poonawalla. The sender asked the director of the company to transfer money to certain bank accounts immediately.
Believing that the messages were sent by the CEO of the company, officials transferred Rs. 1,01,01,554 online. However, it was later realised that no WhatsApp messages were sent by Poonawalla. Investigation was going on, said inspector Mankar, according to a report by Live Mint. The police further added that the accused who sent the WhatsApp messages and the ones who hold the bank account into which the transfers were made are yet to be identified and nabbed.
While WhatsApp scams involving such big sums are rare, users should know that fraudsters are luring on the app looking to steal money on a daily basis by duping them with similar plans. The sums can involve tens of thousands of rupees to even lakhs.
How to stay safe from cyber frauds
If you receive WhatsApp messages from an unknown number claiming to be someone you know, always confirm the identity.
Crosscheck the authentication of the source from where you are receiving the messages or emails.
Never scan a QR code without fully confirming its source.
Do not share your bank account username or password details with anyone. Not even those who claim to be calling you from the bank. No bank will ever ask for these details.
Do not click on any link sent by strangers. It can lead to fake websites of various banks or social media sites and they dupe you into revealing your passwords.
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