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A senior executive of a US-based multinational, Vikas Bhonsale, has fallen prey to debit card cloning and lost Rs1.30 lakh. His Citibank debit card was cloned and the amounts withdrawn from an ATM centre in Hyderabad. Mr Bhonsale got a rude shock when he received 13 text messages on his mobile phone, within a span of five minutes, informing him about withdrawal of Rs1.30 lakh from his account from an ATM. Mr Bhonsale immediately called up the customer care number of Citibank and asked it to block the card as he had not carried out the transactions. Police said the card had been cloned and used to make the fraudulent withdrawals. Under the current law, banks are not responsible for electronic frauds, even though banks set up the systems, hold custody of customers’ money and charge them for various banking facilities.
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has identified nearly 85 districts for possible ‘adoption’ by fund houses as these districts have high bank deposits but limited investment opportunities. SEBI shared information about these districts with AMFI (Association of Mutual Funds of India) and mutual funds have been asked to open branches in these areas. This is another harebrained move of SEBI to force mutual funds to dip into savers’ pockets when too many rules, lacklustre performance and dearth of credible intermediaries have inflicted losses on mutual fund investors.