Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In public interest !

Pirates. Robbers. Thugs. Mafia dons. Hoodlums. For a normal person, these words would get the adrenalin ready to flow. Either in flight or fight. Movies over the years have heaped on us villainy in such abundance that even the nicest guy in town can be the subject of an average mind’s serious investigation, because of a shuffle of feet or a lurking look!

Whats caused this recollections of the criminal kind.

There was a mail from the Income Tax department which let me know that I was eligible to a tax refund of Rs.40,135/-. Now, the amount, a mail coming in from the IT department and all of that, should have relegated the issue to the status of ‘get real and move on in life’!



But.

Rs.40135/- was a mouthwatering amount. The scenario outlined was so plausible. ‘typing in a letter A instead of G makes your incorrect..’ and that seemed tailor made for types like me. Types that perpetually are in a race to outdo themselves in such stuff. The mail harmlessly had a ‘click here’ sweet spot. Before the mind could say t-h-i-n-k , the finger went ‘click click’ as an embodiment of ‘reflex action’ !


Which lead me to this incredible looking website. Having much congruence to the Income Tax season and innocuously asking me the detail of the bank the refund request must be send to. Before you could say j-i-f-f-y, my fingers were on overdrive, I came face to face with the HDFC login page.

The allure of getting what rightfully belonged to me ( a tax refund is about money that belonged to me), saw some ferocious typing ! The keyboard resonating with spirit ! Midway through, reason reappeared. The fingers paused.



"Immobiliere-guessous.com/image/smilies/….." instead of the usual 'netbanking' URL caught my eye. Doubt crept in. The fingers went off the key board as though they were fraught with hot oil ! Realisation dawned that another fluttering presses of a few more keys, I could have been swiped clean of whatever small sums that honour the bank account with their muted presence!

In a short while, colleagues confirmed that it was what they called a phishing attack.

There I sat. With relief plastered all over my face. Realising that I was almost mugged. By someone sitting perhaps languidly infront of a computer screen somewhere ! I was almost mugged by someone who didnt resemble the hoodlum with yellow pants, villainous laugh and a Tata Sumo powered battery of thugs like they show on Tamil movies!

This must have been some wise guy who thought I would cough up my customer ID and password, promising the unthinkable. He sure is a wise guy. Atleast half of one. He almost got me!

So, my bank account remains safe. Atleast so far. Life goes on.

On another note, a dear friend asked me what was the closest that I came to blogging in the ‘interest of the general public’. ‘Socially Responsible blogging’ he emphasised. Almost as an afterthought, he added that he had read several of my posts and made particular mention of “ ‘loo contraptions’ & such other posts of eminence’.

Well, sir, this post is inspired by our conversation. ! In public interest.

On that note people. Beware ! There are many that lurk the net !



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12 comments:

Vikram Singh said...

Kavi,

Good post. I can see a lot of people falling for this kind of scam. You must mail this to HDFC Bank. Not sure what they will do about it but at least you will have done your part.

You might also want to send this to the Finance ministry. Knowing the kind of cons (CWG, et al) going around they might adopt it as one of their own.

Neha said...

ouch! that was scary! and so easy to cheat people! good you were saved! lucky you!

Ujjwal K. Acharya said...

Thanks for sharing..

Ujjwal K. Acharya said...

Thanks for sharing...

Ugich Konitari said...

So glad you were able to detect the fraud address in time. I think there must be an entire industry of counterfeit webpage makers out there. There are some who do a counterfeit Paypal page, and I almost got cheated once. Small differences in the original pages and fake ones, but we must be observant and vigilant. Thanks for posting this.

amreekandesi said...

Lucky you realized the fraud in time...could have been much worse!

Pearl said...

Oh, it helps to be alert, doesn't it?!

So glad you didn't get snagged in their little web!!

Pearl

Vivek Patwardhan said...

Great post, and thanks for publishing it in 'Public interest.' People like us are very vulnerable to such traps. Thanks a million for sharing and thank God for alerting you at the right time.

May God always protect you from such miscreants [and give you motivation to spend it on friends like me]!

Vivek

Insignia said...

Just in time! These sorts lurk around. We need to be careful. The idea of getting some money as refund seems too good to be true :)

And always look for the protected-lock icon at the bottom right of a page you are going to log on to.

Reading The Green said...

Yes, Phishing is notorious these days. I am an IT Security professional and I have witnessed even IT folks falling prey for such attacks.

We are all so busy that we want things done in a jiffy. Well, that is where the hackers come in and the hackers feast on our weakness.

Social Networking has made this even worse. Scary world!!

aativas said...

Saved in time!

Jeevan said...

Kavi your lessons teach us to beware on such Phishing nets. Even people like well aware about internet and technology and online businesses do caught into such nets, the situation of ignorant or new to this technology are sure at bad state.
Thanks for sharing, take care.