What do I do when I become an OTP SCAM victim?

Time is of essence. Please do the below said at the earliest to avoid loosing the money all-together.

Things to do:

  1. Blocking of Card
  2. Drafting a Complaint.
  3. Call and inform the Payment Gateway.
  4. Call and inform the Bank.
  5. Filing an FIR.
  6. Sharing FIR with Payment Gateway.
  7. Process for Reversal of Funds

Blocking of Card:

The most important thing to do right now is to block the card to ensure that no further money is being lost. You can block the card by calling your bank’s customer care or by logging into your online portal. You can get a replacement card at a later point of time, maybe even an instant card from your bank, by physically visible the bank’s branch. Narrating the incident can be done later. Just block the card.

Drafting a Complaint.

The best way to get all information collated is to prepare a complaint about the incident. There is no specific format but, I’ll be happy to share a template (download). The complaint should state about you, your name, your Aadhar number, email, mobile, and residential address (both permanent and temporary). Narrate the incident in whole, as in what time you got the call, from which number, what was spoken, the accent if you could identify, and the card details that you shared.

Call and Inform the Payment Gateway.

Now, you have got a complaint in hand, and the material is ready for sharing. Before filing the FIR, the immediate thing to do is to call the payment gateway and inform them about the Cyber Crime incident. All Payment Gateways are having a cyber helpline by phone or email, you can get in touch with them, and copy-paste the subject section of your complaint and either mail it or inform the details over the phone. Make sure you ask them to block the account.

Call and inform the Bank.

You should have blocked the card by now. You have prepared a complaint, you have reported the matter to the payment gateway, now it is time to inform the bank, either in-person or by a call.

Filing of FIR

There are two ways to register the previously drafted complaint, both are mandatory, not optional.

Login to the portal, create an account and copy-paste the whole complaint. You’ll immediately get a reference number with which, you can take a printout in pdf format, and save it for sharing it with Payment Gateway or Bank. This is a temporary fix to our solution.

  • Visiting the Cyber Cell in your city / (SP Office in your District)

Just filing the complaint online isn’t enough. I strongly recommend you to visit the Cyber Crime Police Station in your locality to file an FIR (First Information Report) or CSR (Community Service Record), as an acknowledgement to your complaint. Additionally, if you are a citizen of Bangalore, they have a standard form, which you’ll need to fill apart from the complaint that you’ve already drafted.

Please Note: Visiting Cyber Cell is mandatory, just online complaint wouldn’t be of much help.

Sharing FIR with Payment Gateway

You should be getting a reply via email from the Payment Gateway asking you to share a complaint / FIR reference number / Acknowledgement. Now, attach the Online Complaint Reference Number along with the previously generated pdf from the CyberCrime.gov.in Portal. With a copy of the document that you’ve given, they will be able to share you either detail such as IP Address / Account Details / Availability of Funds., or at least a courtesy message whether there are funds or not. On a positive note, let us assume that they respond to you with a statement of a minimal transaction with the availability of funds.

Process for Reversal of Funds.

This is the last and hardest part. Some people get lucky, some just get delayed. Once you get a confirmation from the Payment Gateway that there is the availability of funds, ask them to put the account on hold, and based on your request, they will freeze the scammer’s account. Once frozen, you have 48 hours to produce either FIR or have the police officer send a request under Sec. 91 Cr.P.C. With a request from Police under 91 Cr.P.C, the bank / Payment Gateway have the authority to initiate the refund of the available/lost amount.


What if the money is gone?

If the money is gone, the chances of recovery are hard. You have two options, force the police to take the complaint and file the FIR and begin an investigation to find the culprit. AND/OR, You have the option to file a Money Suit (Civil Recovery) at your local Munsiff Court / Sub-Court / District Court (depending upon pecuniary jurisdiction) against the beneficiary of the bank account, as per the KYC details available with bank.

“What if there is no KYC record with bank”

You have just hit a jackpot, as per RBI Guidelines (Master Direction – Know Your Customer (KYCDirection, 2016), it is the bank’s duty to have all accounts KYC verified. And, if the bank has failed to do so, and the money is gone, then, it is the duty of the bank to refund you the cash. And, it becomes the liability. Get in touch with a lawyer, and ask him to pursue the matter against the bank for recovery.