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‘Cheat’ Games

April 2, 2019 - Bharat Sagar


Mr. A is a very busy working professional. Multiple client calls and meetings fill up most of his day.

On a mundane Monday, at around 11.10 in the morning he receives a call from an unknown number, the caller claims to be an employee of a reputed bank. The call is to confirm the services offered by the bank and also about a debit card update they are doing online with the consent of the customer.
The caller on the other side is very persuasive and insists on gaining information. The caller also threatens Mr. A that his debit card is likely to be blocked and it will take 30 days to replace the card as the new card needs to be shipped from their central warehouse. Worried Mr. A, urges the caller not to block the card as he uses the card for multiple purposes and completely depends on it for his everyday payment transactions.

Since the caller has established confidence with Mr. A by talking about an application in progress i.e. his debit card the next step about how to keep the card active is discussed. The caller suggests Mr. A to keep the card handy so that they can initiate an activation request and need some card-related details like CVV, expiry date etc.

Mr. A is not hesitant in sharing the details and also borrows some time to get the card which is there in the office cubicle. Caller asks Mr. A to share the 16- digit card number. Mr. A shares the card number and is asked to share the remaining details like expiry date and CVV. Mr. A shares all the details patiently and now the caller asks him to share the OTP details in order to complete the card activation request.

Mr. A informs the caller that he has not received any OTP till now and requests the caller to wait for 2 min as his network delays OTP sometimes. After some time, Mr. A asks the caller to verify the card details again as he still has not received any OTP. After the caller confirms the submitted details, Mr. A politely confirms that the card number entered by the user is not correct and the caller has erroneously entered some other card number. Since everything is done in a hurry, the caller re-confirms the card details and initiates the action for generating OTP. Mr. A is yet to receive the OTP and asks the caller to re-check the card details as he still doesn’t have the OTP.

Another 5 minutes pass, and now Mr. A has spent almost 15 minutes on the call and still has not received any OTP.

Now Mr. A asks the caller if there is any other way to unblock the card or if he should visit a branch to activate the card. The caller suggests and instructs him not to visit a branch just yet as it might take a little longer to process the request.

After spending more than 15 minutes on the call, Mr. A politely informs the caller that he knew the caller’s intention and plan right from the beginning. Mr. A confidently confronts the fraudster (Caller) that he is aware of the OTP frauds taking place and the card details shared are not correct and he intentionally gave wrong data multiple times.

He also informs the caller that he faked ignorance and gave the details since his main intention was to waste the fraudster’s time.

Mr. A wasted the fraudster’s time and tried cheating him with the wrong details by making him believe that he indeed had not received the OTP. After all this, the fraudster doesn’t have any other option but to disconnect and perhaps curse Mr. A for his smarts.

Yes Mr. A wasted 15 minutes of his personal time during busy hours, but he prevented the fraudster from gaining access to any confidential information and succeeding in his attempt of social engineering. He may not have succeeded in eliminating these kind of cyber-crimes, but he certainly stymied the fraudster’s confidence. The caller would not believe the next person he tries to fool if they tell them their card details.

Cheating a cheater may not be the best solution to combat fraud, but if we a great number of potential targets give wrong details to fraudsters and cheat the cheater, then eventually fraudsters will think more than twice before attempting fraud. An awareness of these kind of pranks can greatly help reduce the chances of such a crime and the number of people from being cheated.

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