An accidental discovery of a daily wager’s idle bank account being used by fraudsters to receive and transfer funds to the tune of Rs 1 crore, without the account holder’s knowledge, has set alarm bells ringing in the country’s banking circles.
What is particularly worrying is that the incident came to light only when the income tax authorities served a notice to the Punjab-based daily wager, who was subsequently found to be clueless about the transaction.
Against the backdrop of this case, the RBI has petitioned government and state-owned banks on the dangers of money muling. The RBI has cautioned that a number of newly opened accounts under the NDA government’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) could be particularly vulnerable. Lenders have been apprised about the failure of bank’s systems and incremental processes to monitor such vulnerable accounts. They have also been told to remain vigilant about kite flyers and Ponzi scheme operators who use mule accounts to swindle public money. Money mule is a term used to describe victims who are duped by fraudsters into laundering illegal money via their bank accounts. Fraudsters typically contact customers through emails, chat rooms, job websites or blogs, and convince them to receive money into their bank accounts in exchange for a commission.