There has been a sharp surge in online transactions post demonetisation. Also, the pandemic last year pushed more and more people to transact online than deal in cash.
However, the rise in online transactions has also increased financial scams. As per the RBI report, banks reported a 15 percent YoY rise in frauds worth over ₹70,000 crore. These frauds were predominantly related to credit/debit cards, internet transactions, etc.
While many people have fallen victim to such kinds of cons, you can still save your money if this happens to you.
Let's look at some important steps to follow if you fall victim to online fraud.
With the fraud cases increasing, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has started taking measures in order to avoid such scams or at least make the victimised party aware of a scam happening. All banks nowadays send messages as soon as any debit or credit transaction is completed in a bank account. This could be UPI, net banking, ATM withdrawal, card swapping, etc. The customers receive messages after every transaction with a link to click on, in case the transaction was not carried on by them.
If you notice any transaction that was not done by you or is a fraud, this is one option you can utilise to inform your bank regarding fraud.
As per the RBI, 'If you have suffered a loss due to unauthorized electronic transactions, your liability may be limited, but also zero, if you notify your bank immediately.'
If the victim informs the bank within a stipulated amount of time (3 days) of financial fraud, the onus falls on the bank to prove the customer has not been a victim of the fraud. Earlier the customer had to prove that he/she was the victim.
If the fraud is reported and proven, the bank has to pay the entire amount to the customer. Whenever a customer makes an online payment, there are intermediary platforms like payee bank, payer bank, payment gateway. This process has to be encrypted and no data of the customer should be stored in the process. So if any fraud happens during this process, the bank has to refund the customer.
As per the RBI refund rules, if the fraud is reported within 3 days, no liability lies with the victim. If it is reported within 3-7 days, the bank refunds the transaction amount or the maximum liability amount (see table below), whichever is lower. If reported after 7 days, depends on the bank's policy. So it is important to remain vigilant and to report the fraud as soon as possible.
You can also call the helpline 155260 to report financial fraud. This is an emergency line started by the ministry of home affairs and the RBI and has all major public and private banks onboard. It also has online wallets like Paytm, PhonePe, Mobikwik, Amazon and Flipkart.
If you fall for fraud, call the helpline to submit a complaint. Then a ticket is issued and sent to your corresponding bank. You will have to share your transactional details as well as some personal information with the operator. After a ticket is issued, you will also get an SMS with an acknowledgment number which you have to submit on the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal (https://cybercrime.gov.in/) within 24 hours.
How long does it take to get the money back?
After the bank is informed of the fraud, it will take around 10 days for the money to be credited back to the victim's account, as per the RBI guidelines.
In cases where the liability of the customer has to be decided, the complaint has to be addressed within 90 days.
While there has been an increase in financial loss due to online scams, the banks and the RBI are taking steps to ensure no innocent customers suffer in case of such fraud.