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Students’ victim of fraudsters: RBI
Correspondent KOHIMA, JUL 28 (NPN):
Published on 29 Jul. 2010 12:24 AM IST
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The RBI has found that the bank accounts of youths particularly from Nagaland were being misused by fraudsters, said RBI regional director Surekha Marandi.
She said the entire students from Nagaland studying outside the state were at risk of their bank accounts being misused by fraudsters if they were not careful.
Addressing a press conference at Hotel Japfu here today, the regional director cited an instance in which the bank had detected 70 transactions being carried out from the account of a Naga student studying in Delhi within a short span of time. The amount is deposited from somewhere in Nagaland and within no time the amount is withdrawn from Delhi, she said.
Apart from the typical modus operandi adopted in the past, the fraudsters were now resorting to issue certificates, letters and circulars which were sent through e-mail, on letter-heads that look like that of the Reserve Bank of India and purportedly signed by its top executives or senior officer to make them appear as genuine.
The fraudsters also convince the victims by impersonating as senior officials of the Reserve Bank with telephone numbers or fictitious e-mail IDs.
There has also been attempt to duplicate the Reserve Bank of India website to lure the public. Fraudsters seek money from the gullible people under different pretext such as processing fees, transaction fees, tax clearance charges, conversion charges and clearing fees and the potential victims of the fraud were persuaded to deposit the amount in accounts with various banks in India.
Once the initial amount demanded is deposited, the money is withdrawn immediately from the account and fresh demands for higher amount follows in the name of transaction tax, registration money etc.
The RBI Regional Director who was accompanied by Deputy General Manager RBI A. Bhaskara Rao and other officials are here as part of the RBI campaign to create awareness against rampant fictitious offers of winning lottery, remittance of cheap funds in foreign currency from abroad, employment offers, scholarships offers and admissions to reputed overseas universities that are floating through internet, mobile phones and SMS.
No Indian citizen is allowed to participate in lottery in any foreign country and it is against the foreign exchange law, she said. No body should be allowed to deposit money in their account or use their account by any third party. Stating that a person who allows a fraudster to use his or her account for committing fraud in banking parlance are called a mule, she said such account can be frozen and the account holder can be criminally prosecuted.
She also warned that any person who has lost banking kits including pass book, cheque book or debit card should immediately report the matter, or else if the same account is being misused by any other, the account holder would be held responsible and could be prosecuted. Anybody caught in fictitious fraud should immediately report to the police for further necessary action, she said.
She also revealed that the RBI took up the campaign since 2000 and has been telling all the banking institution not to allow such suspicious transactions but the trend continued for which the RBI had gone to the media for creating public awareness, the RBI Regional Director said.
Reacting to queries, the RBI official said that the RBI can take up any matter of such fraud by freezing the account and informing the police if it received any complaint from any citizen.
Moreover, she informed that all state government has been asked to have a separate Economic Offence Wing and Cyber Crime Wing in their respective state.
She also clarified that the Reserve Bank of India do not maintain any accounts in the names of individuals, companies or trust and RBI do not open accounts for individuals to deposit money with the Reserve Bank or issue certificate or confirmations or receipts evidencing the holding of money in these accounts or authorize any of its officials for such disbursal.
Sending remittances outside for this purpose is against the provision of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999 while the current account rules framed under the same act remittance in any form towards participation in lottery schemes or lottery schemes under different names like money circulation or remittances for the purpose of securing prize money or award are prohibited. Accordingly, action can be taken against any person residing in India for collecting and effecting such payments directly or indirectly outside India for contravention of the FEMA.
Further, RBI do not have any investigative powers to trace and book the culprits nor does it have the power for criminal prosecution but that the Directorate of Enforcement is the investigating agency under FEMA, 1999, she added.

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