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Recently the Deputy Managing Director and the Digital Officer of State Bank of India stated that we have to ensure the safety and security of the Digital Platforms to prevent frauds. Hundreds of fraudulent transactions are taking place every day. The UPAI platform is the most unsecure. This has been pointed out by many.  Recently an Octogenarian Social Worker and Freedom Fighter Kodikal received a call with the caller stating ‘I am calling from Punjab National Bank, Nagercoil. Your account number is xxxxxxx. Is it right?’  He replied with ‘yes,’ and the caller said there is some problem in the Account and asked for details of his ATM card and PIN. Kodikal gave the phone to his daughter-in-law to answer, and she promptly gave the details.

After some time he had some doubts and rushed to the branch and enquired. The Branch Manager said we did not call. He himself called the caller, taking the number from Kodikal and the person again said he is from PNB. The Branch Manager shouted at the person and cancelled the ATM card and issued a New Card with a new PIN. After a few days kodikal received a remittance of Rs.20,000/- from a well-wisher. Immediately the amount was withdrawn by the fraudster, using the UPAI platform and the money was not traceable. Every day similar frauds are taking place targeting elderly people. It is surprising that the Account could be operated even after changing the ATM card and PIN and blocking the Account. The Bank is also clueless.

The statement of one of the highest ranking officials of SBI should at least serve as a wake-up call.

Unfortunately the Govt and RBI are considering licence for Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance and for Amazon for starting a similar platform which could be more dangerous than the present one.  Who will wake up the sleeping Govt?

Thomas Franco is former General Secretary of All India Bank Officers’ Confederation.

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