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Thursday, July 30, 2009

RBI issues alert on lottery scams

Mumbai: The RBI has warned the public of a lottery scam doing the rounds, which fraudulently invokes the central banks authority, besides the promise of windfall gains, to lure people into parting with big amounts of money. 
According to RBI, the new scheme names an individual as the winner of a lottery running into millions of dollars kept with the banking regulator . The catch: The winner has to transfer some money into a bank account to take care of administrative and other expenses for the winner. In an attempt to give the game an authentic look, the fraudsters are faking RBI certificates, complete with the name, designation and signature of some of central banks officers. 
On Thursday, RBI warned the public that it does not maintain any account in the name of individuals, companies , or trusts in India to hold funds for disbursal. It also does not allow individuals to open an account to deposit money with the RBI. Neither does it issue any certificates, advice or confirmation, evidencing receipt and holding of money in such accounts. 
The modus operandi: One gets an email saying he/she is the winner of a lottery and the amount is kept in an account with the RBI. The email also has an attachment of a certificate from the RBI. 
The email also gives a mobile number on which the lottery winner could call to claim the jackpot. Once the recipient of the mail makes the verification call, the voice on the other side, which is claimed to be of an RBI officer, informs the caller about the next step. This usually involves transferring a few lakhs of rupees to a particular bank account. 
Within days, however, the mobile phone goes silent and the money is withdrawn. 
RBI has received several complaints and it is currently working with the police to track down the fraudsters, a top RBI official said. The economic offences wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police is currently dealing with four similar cases while many more cases are there at the police station level , said Sanjay Saxena, additional CP (EOW). 
RBI has warned people that remittance in any form towards participation in lottery schemes is prohibited under the Foreign Exchange Management Act . Further, these restrictions are applicable also to remittances for participation in lottery-like schemes functioning under different names, such as, money circulation scheme or remittances for the purpose of securing prize money, awards, etc, it said on its website. 
RBI now has a ticker on its website (www.rbi.org.in), warning people in 13 languages about this fraud.



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