To ensure that customers do not fall prey to fraudulent schemes promising cheaper funds from abroad, the Reserve Bank of India wants banks to consider prominently displaying messages cautioning them about the schemes on their websites as well as branch/ATM locations.

The central bank also said banks could consider incorporating a column on “reason/ purpose for payment” in pay-in slips so that officials could advise customers not to remit money to fraudsters who float fraudulent schemes.

The fraudulent schemes are floated under different names such as money circulation scheme or remittances for the purpose of securing prize money/awards.

Fee scams

The RBI said it has come across a spate of fictitious offers of cheap funds in recent times from the fraudsters through letters, e-mails, mobile phones, and SMS.

Communications on fake letterheads of the RBI and purportedly signed by its top executives / senior officials are also being sent to targeted people.

Fraudsters are seeking money from the gullible people, under different heads, such as, processing fees/ transaction fees/ tax clearance charges/ conversion charges, clearing fees, etc.

The victims of the fraud have also been persuaded to deposit the amount in accounts with banks in India, and such amounts have been withdrawn immediately.

The RBI has been alerting the public about such fictitious schemes/ offers, through the print and the electronic media and other public education campaigns.

The central bank has cautioned that any person resident in India collecting and effecting/remitting such payments directly/ indirectly outside India would make himself/ herself liable to be proceeded against with, for contravention of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 besides being liable for violation of regulations relating to Know Your Customer (KYC) norms/Anti Money Laundering (AML) standards.

(This article was published on May 18, 2014)
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