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RBI advises public to ignore phishing e-mails

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An RBI official on Friday reiterated the central bank's warning to citizens to ignore fraudulent e - mails that sought to trick them into depositing money in anonymous bank accounts.

In some cases, the 'phishing' e-mails were found to contain fake RBI letterheads purportedly signed by its top executives, RBI Regional Director A K Bera said.

The money lost through such e-mails is not recoverable, Bera said.

"Over ten cases of e-mail fraud have been reported at the Foreign Exchange Department of RBI here, where residents have been duped of anything between Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh through such fictitious e-mails," Bera said.

"The ten accounts opened with different private and nationalised banks which were found to be operated as part of this fictitious e-mail fraud have been seized and investigations are underway," Bera said.

The Gujarat regional RBI office has forwarded such cases of Internet fraud to the cyber crime cell at its headquarters in Mumbai for further investigation.

"Besides, these ten reported cases, around 20 persons have contacted RBI in the past few months stating loss of money after falling prey to such fictitious e-mails," Bera said.

"But they refused to register complaints, either with us or with the state police's Economic Offence Wing," he said.

In the wake of such rising incidents of e-mail fraud in Gujarat, the RBI has advised banks to exercise caution and be extra vigilant concerning the fictitious offers whereby bank accounts are opened for executing such transactions, he said.

"RBI has begun levying penalty on banks here for their failure to comply with the Know Your Customer norms, besides not ensuring compliance of the Anti-Money Laundering Act and reporting of suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit," Bera said.

"A practice has been observed wherein some business establishments get account of their employees opened in banks and later use them for receiving and transferring money after paying some commission," he said.

"Often such accounts are used to execute fraudulent transactions," Bera said.

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