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January 4, 2022

Ongoing online frauds to watch out for What is happening all around us?

There is always a good and bad in everything that happens around us. There is always a learning in everything that we do. It is up to us to take the best out of every experience to grow and improve or pick up the wrong things and tread the wrong path.

When the pandemic happened for the first time in any of our lives, it unveiled a whole new meaning of the world ‘life’ to us. Suddenly we would hear about the demise of a young guy due to covid and who had appeared hale and hearty a week back. On the other hand, we would hear stories of self-made entrepreneurs who decided to pick up the threads of their own lives and create a new identity…either to support the earning members or to get a new meaning of their own existence. We learnt from everything. We learnt to cherish every moment and nurture every relationship – whether personal or professional.

In the midst of all this, like always, there were a lot of unscrupulous people who utilized their grey cells in this time to devise newer ways of defrauding innocent people. Fraud has always existed but this time it was slightly different – as there was desperation from both ends, perpetrators and victims.

My friend who had recently lost her father to covid was feeling low. Though they were financially secure, the sudden death led her to start worrying about her mother’s financial future. Coincidentally, around this time, she got a call congratulating her on her C.V. getting shortlisted for a lucrative IT job with a multifold salary increase. All she had to do was pay a nominal processing fee to expedite the verification process and move her up the list of probable candidates. Bingo! The deal was struck.

Another colleague was sharing his experience the other day. He had purchased a refrigerator from a renowned dealer in the capital. He was enticed with an EMI scheme (from one of the largest private banks) at the time of purchasing and he grabbed it. Surprising there was no EMI deduction for the first two months. Third month saw 2 deductions on consecutive days. Next morning, he received a message which read as “If the EMI has been wrongly deducted, please call on this number”. He called. He was reassured upfront that any erroneous deduction would be dealt with promptly and a senior would call him to sort out. And within 30 seconds, he did receive a call from the senior. Wow, what promptness. The senior diligently noted down details of the deductions. The colleague explained that he was not sure if the deduction was at all erroneous as anyways three EMIs were already due. No worries. No one in the world had the power to deduct more than one EMI in a month even if the bank itself had forgotten to deduct earlier, he was told. A refund was immediately due. All my colleague had to do was download an app called ‘anydesk remote control’ and the refund would be credited promptly. A code was shared. The colleague in question was a smart and intelligent fellow with more than 10 years of working experience. It was purely the suaveness of the caller which had allayed any suspicion till then and only a subsequent question on current available balance in his savings account finally triggered an alarm. In a hurry he hung up and called the customer care numbers of the private bank from the website. On relaying the entire conversation, he was informed it was a fraud exercise and he was advised to switch off his mobile phone and remove the sim card for a while. Though not specified in so many words, he was made to think about if experienced professionals like him could walk into such traps, how would the banks deal with freshers?

The stories are never ending. A recent survey shows people who lost their spouses during Covid were especially targeted. They were called by imposters claiming to be investment bankers and advised on securing their lives financially in the aftermath of the death of their life partners. This is not new – this has existed since long but is able to create more havoc because sentiments are running high – people are vulnerable and there is still apprehension all around.

On a separate track, I sometimes wonder if such bright minds who rake up storms with their fraudulent acts of targeting emotionally vulnerable people and ripping them financially – if they could put their minds to some good cause, wouldn’t the world be a better place to live in? If they received guidance and got options for courses to do after 12th, then their bright minds would have been channelized in the right direction.

Experience is required to be able to desist frauds. Though still not fool-proof; but experience and professional training definitely helps. If one trained person can help five different people and each of those five people can help five each more, just imagine how many people could be saved from frauds?

HCL has envisaged career options which professionally train students for job-oriented courses after 12th post which students can straightaway jump on to assured jobs and gain experience. And eventually such people, in the long run, can then offer career guidance to students after 12th with their experience and training initiated through the TechBee – an Early Career programme by HCL.

Vineet Tandon
about author

Vineet Tandon has over 18 years of corporate experience and has held marketing function across organizations like FICCI, Business Standard, Centum Learning and Oracle Corporation. He currently heads marketing & talent branding for New Vistas vertical of HCL Technologies. He is also India’s First & Only Musical Motivational Speaker, Author, Podcaster and a Columnist.

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