An organized gang is stealing money by sending fraud cash-in messages (SMS) to bank clients. The conmen send cash-in SMS to clients but no additional deposits comes to their accounts in reality.
Recently, a Bank Asia customer received a cash-in SMS but no money was deposited. Later, the matter was taken for police investigation.
The bank authorities claimed that these cash-in SMS were sent using a fake identity. However, police believe that it is not possible to send cash-in SMS without any help from inside the bank.
On September 14, Bank Asia’s Uttara branch client Yasin Shikdar, 23, received a cash-in SMS in his bank account for Tk659,000. The client quickly went to the bank with a cheque to collect money.
The bank officials checked the account and found that a deposit was posted in the account from the bank’s Ishwardi branch, but there was no money in the account. Then the Ishwardi branch was asked to explain the reasons for the delay of this transaction. In response, the manager of Ishwardi branch said someone claiming to be the bank’s head of IT department phoned him and said there was a problem in the bank’s server.
Later the manager was asked to deposit an amount to an account to test whether the server was working properly or not. So the manager gave a posting of Tk659,000 in Uttara branch’s client Yasin’s account. As a result, he rushed to the bank to cash out the deposit. After talking to Ishwardi branch, Uttara branch officials told him that there was no transaction in his account. Then a serious quarrel took place between bank officials and Yasin inside the bank.
On November 6, Bank Asia Vice-President and Operation Manager AKM Mohsin Uddin filed a case against the client in Uttara (East) police station.
The bank officials reported that Yasin Shikdar wanted to collect money by cheating, and he had threatened to kill the officials.
But the bank authorities did not say anything about how the SMS was sent using the bank’s own server. They claimed that the Ishwardi branch manager resigned after the incident.
Bank Asia Managing Director Arfan Ali said: “The act was committed by someone claiming to be the head of our IT department. We have filed a case. The client who came to collect money opened the account one month before the incident. We asked him to cooperate after the incident, but he did not.”
He continued: “Recently, this kind of incidents have taken place in two other banks. The criminals were able to collect money from there. But they have failed to take money from here. After this incident, we have revamped our system, so there is no possibility of such incidents happening again.”
He further said the bank authorities had been investigating the incident internally, but he believed that none of their officials were involved in this incident.
The Criminal Investigation Department's Organized Crime unit is currently investigating the case filed by the Bank Asia authorities. Asked about this matter, CID spokesperson and Special Superintendent of Police Molla Nazrul Islam said: “We are investigating the case. You will know the details after the investigation ends.”
Requesting anonymity, an official investigating the case said: “This is an organized racket. Some of the bank officials can also be involved. Money exchange traders are most likely to be cheated by them.”
How they cheat by sending cash-in SMS
First, the conmen go to a money exchange to buy dollars. Then they tell the money exchange trader that a large sum of dollars will be bought, so the taka will be transacted through a bank. They send cash-in SMS to the trader after getting his account number. The foreign currency trader then promptly go to the bank. By then, the bank officials also receive the same cash-in SMS and notify the money exchange trader that cash posting is underway and will be deposited soon.
After getting the confirmation, the money exchange trader provides the dollars to the fraudsters.
Then the criminals immediately escape with the dollars. After a while, the money exchange trader comes to know that no deposit was made to his or her account.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune