The internet is host to a lot of scams, ranging from sophisticated to downright stupid. A new one has emerged and it bends towards the latter. Scammers are trying to steal personal data of users under the guise of KYC verification. Several users have said that they have received SMS messages from unknown numbers stating that their numbers will be blocked if they do not verify their KYC information within the next 48 hours. If you happen upon receiving such messages, ignore them, as they are fake. While companies reach out to customers for KYC verification, it is through official channels and not through unknown phone numbers. Here’s what such an SMS might look like:
In both the instances, the content of the SMS is full of grammatical errors/discrepancies. No valid message from a company like Airtel or Vodafone will spell ‘number’ as ‘number’. Also, in one case an “Airtel” message was sent to a Jio user. These alone are enough to ring alarm bells in one’s mind that this is a scam. This is a good thing, though it shows that the scammers behind the poorly conceived plot are not very bright, initially. Furthermore, anyone with a keen eye can dismiss this as a scam.
Airtel warns not to fall into such KYC scams
Airtel has been sending messages warning its users not to fall for the latest KYC scam. The message reads, ‘Fraud Alert: Airtel will ask you to anytime share your eKYC details/Aadhaar number, download an app, make calls from any mobile number to verify your Airtel number or if your SIM has expired. Does not ask for any SMS. Please beware of such calls/SMS as they may result in financial fraud.”
Such KYC messages really have the potential to steal your data and money if you are not careful. Note that these messages come with a phone number or may include a suspicious link. Calling the number can put you directly in contact with a scammer who may ask you to download third party apps that can clone your phone and steal your data. Suspicious links can take you to a fraudulent site that can also steal your data.
Unfortunately, if a person receives such messages, there is not much they can do except ignore them, meaning it is most likely that your number is in the hands of shady persons. Often this is the result of data breaches. You can use services like HaveIBeenPwned to find out whether your personal information has been leaked from a major recorded breach. It would also be wise to call the official customer service numbers to verify whether the message you received is legit or scam.