Chandigarh, June 6, 2011 Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken many measures to create awareness among the public about fraudulent communications relating to fictitious offers/lottery winnings/remittance of cheap funds in foreign currency from abroad/employment offers/scholarship offers, etc. This was stated by Shri Jasbir Singh, Regional Director, Reserve Bank of India, Chandigarh while addressing a press conference today. He further said that these steps has been taken as RBI has been receiving complaints from individuals, trusts and other entities in this regard, which are being perpetrated by certain residents and non residents. He further said that these fictitious offers are generally made through letters, e-mails, mobile phones, SMS, etc. Apart from the typical modalities adopted in the past, the fraudsters are now resorting to issue of certificates, letters, circulars, etc., which are sent through e-mail, on letter heads that look like that of the Reserve Bank and purportedly signed by its top executives/senior officials to make them appear as genuine. The fraudsters also convince the victims by impersonating as senior officials of the Reserve Bank with telephone numbers and/or fictitious e-mail IDs.
Many residents fall prey to such teasing offers and lose large sums of money in the process. Shri Singh informed that RBI (Foreign Exchange Department) has issued number of A.P. (DIR Series) Circulars on December 7, 2000, July 27, 2001 and June 4, 2002 and May 26,2010 cautioning the Authorized Dealer banks against remittances towards schemes involving money circulation, lottery schemes, etc. and the existing prohibition on remittances for participation in such schemes.
Detailed press releases indicating the modus operandi of the fraudsters and cautioning the public against falling prey to fictitious offers of cheap funds from abroad were issued on December 7, 2007, July 30, 2009, May 28, 2010 & Feb.15, 2011 which have been placed on our website www.rbi.org.in as a permanent ticker. Commercial and Cooperative banks have also been advised to display copies of the Reserve Bank’s press releases at all the branches in order to give it wide publicity. The Reserve Bank has issued suitable press releases/advertisements in the matter in the major English and vernacular dailies. Further, under the ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ programme, advertisements have been released in the major dailies and on the national television channels for reaching out to the public in a more effective manner.
He informed that RBI Chandigarh has also started an e-mail Helpline i.e. email@example.com for receiving complaints in this regard. He also added that the Reserve Bank has now issued another A.P. (DIR Series) circular dated May 26, 2010 wherein it has been pointed out that 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 are persuaded to deposit the amount in accounts with banks in India, and such amounts are withdrawn immediately.
It is also observed that multiple accounts are being opened in the name of individuals or proprietary concerns, at different bank branches for collecting the transaction charges, tax clearance charges, etc. Banks have been advised to exercise due caution and to be extra vigilant while opening or allowing transactions in such accounts. He clarified 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.
He advised the victims to register the complaints with the local police/Cyber Crime Cells in case of any doubts regarding such fictitious offers received. The public may also refer to the Reserve Bank’s website for clarifications.