Loan moratorium: Banks ask customers to be cautious against frauds

Kolkata: Several banks have cautioned their customers against possible attempts by fraudsters as they became active to exploit the three-month loan repayment moratorium offer in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, officials said on Friday.

The cyber criminals pretending as officials of banks have been reaching out to borrowers, offering them assistance to avail the loan repayment moratorium scheme for phishing out account details, they said.

“They have become active at a time when people are seeking immediate relief from their financial obligations.

“After getting some complaints, many banks have started sending messages to their customers, requesting them to be cautious against possible frauds,” an official said.

He, however, did not provide details about number of such cases already registered.

Country’s largest lender State Bank of India said, “Please note that EMI deferment does not require OTP sharing. Do not share your OTP.”

Fraudsters are reaching out to banks’ customers through social media, e-mail, phone calls or SMS, another official said.

“Don’t let fraudsters profit from the pandemic. Fraudsters are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by preying on public fears,” Standard Chartered said in a message.

“Posing as bank representative or public officials, they might attempt to obtain personal and financial information from you, which may lead to data compromise and fraudulent transactions,” it said.

Axis Bank, in a communication, requested its customers to protect their banking information against frauds relating to EMI moratorium.

“Fraudsters have started a new modus operandi to gain access to your banking details. Imposters may contact you to help postpone your EMI payments and request you to share OTP, CVV, password or PIN related to your banking accounts. Stay aware,” the lender informed its customers.

ICICI Bank, too, has been requesting its customers to be cautious against the deceptive activities by cyber criminals.

The Reserve Bank had recently announced a three-month moratorium on loan repayments in the wake of COVID-19 crisis for dues to be paid between March-May 2020 and left it to the banks to implement the same.

Several private sector banks have decided to go for the “opt-in” option on loan repayment moratorium, putting the onus on the customers to take the initiative of informing the lenders of their choice to go for the three-month breather.

A slew of state-run banks have gone for an “opt-out” option where the repayments automatically get deferred unless a customer informs his or her willingness to pay.

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