Beware! Phishing attacks in the name of non-payment of Bescom bills

Wg. Cdr. Kurian Cherian (retd) learnt it the hard way after losing ₹10,000 to the phishing attack

Wg. Cdr. Kurian Cherian (retd) learnt it the hard way after losing ₹10,000 to the phishing attack

“Dear CUSTOMAR, your electricity power will be disconnected to night at 9.30 pm from electricity office because your previous month bill was not updated. Please immediately contact with our electricity officer 9693325442 Thank you.”

If you get such a message saying your power connection will be disconnected for non-payment of bill, beware; it is an attempted phishing attack on your bank account. 

Wg. Cdr. Kurian Cherian (retd) learnt it the hard way after losing ₹10,000 to the phishing attack, despite not sharing any One Time Password (OTP) with the caller. “I got a message on my mobile that power will be disconnected by 9:30 pm for non-payment of bills for May and asked me to contact an electricity officer and provided a number for the same.

“When I called him and clarified that I had indeed paid our bills, he said the database was yet to be updated and asked me to make an online payment of ₹10 saying it will be credited in the next bill. I made a payment of ₹100. Soon, my wife, from whose account the payment was made, got messages indicating transfer of nearly a lakh. I did not give any OTP and cut the call,” he said. 

However, he soon realised that ₹10,000 had been successfully transferred from his daughter’s bank account, which had also been used earlier to make Bescom bill payments. Wg. Cdr. Kurian Cherian (retd) soon blocked both his wife’s and daughter’s accounts and lodged a complaint with the cyber crime police. 


Not an isolated incident

But this doesn’t seem to be his experience alone. Several Bescom customers have reportedly become targets of phishing attacks using this modus operandi recently. S. R. Nagaraja, General Manager, Customer Relations, Bescom, said that it had come to their notice as well that several customers had received the same message as Wg. Cdr. Kurian Cherian (retd) and, in the fear of getting their power disconnected, they have made online payments and got cheated.

“From Bescom, we would like to clarify that nobody from us will send a message to customers over non-payment. Bescom officials come to the house physically and disconnect power in case of non-payment of bills after a grace period of 30 days. We request customers to pay their bills only through authenticated portals,” he said. He also appealed to customers to report such phishing attempts to the Bescom helpline 1912 or the jurisdictional Assistant Executive Engineer. 

Meanwhile, Bescom has also reported these phishing attacks targeting its customers to the cyber crime police. A senior police official said that efforts are on to nab these gangs, mostly based out of Jharkhand, who are behind such phishing attacks. “We have also been coordinating with the Jharkhand police to put an end to this menace,” a police official said.  

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Sagar Biswas

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