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New PAN frauds : All you need to know

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Sunitha, aged 54 years had lost her husband just last month. She gets a call from a lady, identifying herself as a officer from Employee Provident Fund(EPF) department and informs that her husband’s provident fund is now worth 11 crore and offers her help in redemption of the same. She wins Sunitha’s trust by quoting correctly her Husband Name, Permanent Account Number(PAN) and the company he worked for. The caller then asks Sunitha to pay advance tax and GST so that she can process her redemption and convinces Sunitha to pay 4 crore rupees in total to various bank accounts over time. When Sunitha finally said I dont have any more money, the caller stopped all communication, then Sunitha realized she was a victim of PAN fraud, Impersonation and Social Engineering cybercrime.

In another recently reported incident, a Bangalore IT professional working for Infosys was extorted of Rs 3.7 crore by cybercriminals identifying themselves as from CBI and Mumbai police. The story narrated here was that a bank account opened using his PAN had been used for money laundering and if he does not transfer the amount, he will be arrested under financial terrorism non-bailable sections and taken to Mumbai jail. Under duress he transferred Rs 3.7 crores over few days to multiple accounts suggested by the cybercriminals. Here again he was a victim of PAN fraud, Impersonation and Social Engineering cybercrime.

There are two main issues with this fraud, one being issuance of PAN card printouts or photocopies or scanned copies without proper care or necessity and second being the negligence, irresponsibility, laziness, indifference and ignorance of the verification process by the officers/agents while opening bank account, its possible that there can be a inside involvement in the fraud. I had written in detail about various PAN cyber frauds, Impersonation and Social Engineering cybercrime, check it out for how they are carried out.

Precautions that can be taken to prevent such PAN frauds :-

If you are a victim of such fraud :-

Immediately call 1930 cyber helpline or file a complaint at website or nearby police station. Also you can file a complaint on the official website of the Income Tax Department (steps given below). File a complaint against the bank or government or other organizations that have allowed the fraud without proper verification and take legal action against them.

Steps to Report Misuse of PAN Card with Income Tax Department :-

The Income-tax department under the Indian Government has developed an electronic website to file PAN Grievances through Aayakar Sampark Kendra (ASK). Therefore, you can follow the steps discussed below to report a misuse after you spot one in your PAN.

Legal remedies available to the victim :-

You can register a criminal case at your nearest cyber or children specific or regular police station, under the following legal sections or the Act as per sections prescribed by the police based on your case :

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