Technology is advancing at supersonic speed!
It’s hard to keep-up especially as older adults.
What is even more rampant are cyber scams targeting older adults.
Being a victim to these suave scammers can happen with the blink of an eye.
So here is a telephonic scam I almost fell victim to.
Read on for how a scam unfolds and what to look for to save you from being a target for the much informed, smooth operator scammer.
RADIKHA: Good Morning, am I speaking to Sonali Shah?
SONALI: Yes, who are you?
RADHIKA: I’m calling from India First Insurance Company, you have lately made an insurance claim?
SONALI: Yes, for my mother DOLLY SHAH, she suffered a stroke three months ago and we have got only part of the claim so far.
(Sonali has made way for the scammer by divulging this core information.)
RADHIKA: Okay mam, I have called because your file has come up for scrutiny. Once it is passed you will receive the bonus claim of Rs. One lakh, twenty five thousand, seven hundred and fifty six. Do you have your insurance Policy documents? I would like to verify a few things. Policy number, Name of Claimant, Insured Amount and Annual Premium Amount.
SONALI: Yes, (All details read out and verified)
RADHIKA: what is your agent’s name?
SONALI: Laxman Singh, but he is most unreliable, he does not answer my calls, and he has said that the last amount I received is full and final.
RADHIKA: This bonus amount is for the additional claim you filed. All the agents keep a commission, so don’t contact Laxman, this way you will receive the full amount.
(Notice how they will persuade the client to keep the agent out of the picture.)
RADHIKA: A few more questions, when was your last premium paid?
SONALI: January 2020, there has been no claim for five years prior to this.
RADHIKA: Okay mam, since you have not claimed for five years you should get the bonus. I am going to give you a file reference number, do not share this number with your agent. I will send the details to the head officer, you will then receive a call from him and after his approval the amount will be transferred by NEFT to the bank details on file. Your file reference number is SK–1479-470.
9820061313, is your contact number.
I am forwarding this file to the payment department; I will call you back within an hour and connect you to the officer.
Twenty minutes later;
RADHIKA: Is this Sonali mam? I am Radhika from India First Insurance Company, kindly speak to the head officer. Mr. Amir Ali.
AMIR: Good Morning Sonali mam, I have received your file for verification. You are speaking on behalf of claimant Dolly Shah. How is she related to you?
SONALI: Dolly Shah is my mother, she is totally bed ridden, so I am handling her insurance claim.
AMIR: Okay, she is 84 years old and has suffered a paralytic stroke in October 2019. Where is your mother currently?
SONALI: She is at her home now, with 24 hour assistance. Insurance does not pay for home care, so all help to the maximum claim will be appreciated.
AMIR: Your total claim is Rs. Six lakhs five thousand and your sum assured is Rs. Four lakh fifty thousand. You have not made a claim for five years. You have already received Rs. Three lakhs fifty four thousand.
Since your mother is eighty four years, Rs. one lakh, twenty five thousand, seven hundred and fifty six, has already been passed as bonus claim, I will award you in addition to the bonus claim, one lakh more.
In total you will receive Rs. two lakh, twenty five thousand, seven hundred and fifty six.
This is how we will proceed with the payment. First I will need you to deposit a one-year premium amount into our bank, Rs. twenty six thousand five hundred only.
SONALI: But sir, we have already paid the premium up to May 2021.
AMIR: This is an advance premium for the following year, you will have to pay it, if you want the bonus. This is to guarantee your next year’s premium, as you can see we are in a pandemic and lots of people are claiming and not renewing their policy. This is what the company has decided. When we award bonus claims, we take a one-year advance premium. Your file is passed, the first step is to transfer the premium amount, then we will take a cancelled cheque from you and remit the bonus claim to your account. All this is online, so don’t worry it will be no trouble for you.
SONALI: Let me consult my agent about the advance premium.
AMIR: To give the client the benefit, we have come up with this direct payment scheme with no commission to agents. Radhika will follow-up with all details.
My husband, who has overheard the conversation says,
“All of this sounds too good to be true. Why have they eliminated Laxman, let’s give him a call and find out if this direct payment scheme is for real. When we have paid a premium to National Insurance for thirty years and they have made the first payment of the claim, why is India First Insurance Company calling us? Seems a bit fishy to me.”
- TRUE CALLER registered Amir as a prepaid number under the name Tej Patel.
- Ask for an office landline number, (which he could not provide)
- Radhika email was from a personal ID and not the company
Two weeks later;
Radhika calls from an unknown number and asks why we have not paid the premium.
Sonali says to her she suspects this is a scam. Radhika hangs up. The cell is not reachable for days to follow.
Laxman is informed, he confirms this can never be a scheme.
I reported it to cyber police and they were unable to trace the phone number.
I saved myself from being scammed because I let my husband overhear the conversation.
This could happen to anybody, especially senior citizens handling their own affairs. Never reveal your bank details, your debit card pin or ever share your OTP(one time password).
The lure for extra money is always exciting so be alert, money isn’t offered so easily in good times and never in bad economic times.
There are thousands of scammers putting out their line with chunky bait.
Make sure you are not the catch.
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