The latest fraud scheme to be reported is using Google Maps to trick victims into giving away their banking details.
The fraudsters misuse the feature in this Google app that permits you to correct any wrong entries to telephone contact numbers of banks.
And when unsuspecting customers search for their bank on Google Maps and call up the number listed there, the call is received by scammers who manage to extract sensitive details like their account number, user ID and password.
This enables the criminals to empty out the victim’s bank account and vanish.
Crime Reported from India
This use of Google Maps to defraud people has come to light in Mumbai, India—where the crime has been covered in the local newspapers.
If one went by the way the matter has been reported in the media in India, Google has not indicated that the incident will lead to changes in the way Google Maps is handled.
The company says they have systems in place to detect any kind of spam or fraudulent entries in the app.
In the present case, they appear to have corrected the details of the banks and the contact numbers.
But the basic feature which permits the public to change/improve the entries to reflect a better representation of a place, the address and contact numbers will continue to exist. In the Local Guides program, users can add and edit a place and its details.
Its for the Public to Take Care
The only way people can escape from such serious frauds is to remain alert and take a few precautions.
One important guideline is not to trust the information on Google Maps, at least when it relates to phone numbers for contacting banks or other institutions. Almost every bank has a website of its own where the contact numbers are given.
Use them. The genuine contact numbers of the bank appear on the reverse side of credit or debit cards issued by banks.
The other important point to bear in mind is that one should never share personal bank details with even the bank’s own employees over the phone, or message it to anyone.
Your bank details, especially the password to access the account or the ATM personal identification number or PIN are information you should never share with anyone.
If someone in the bank asks too, tell them you will not be able to share it.
Lastly, if you have the time and the inclination, you can possibly correct such errors in Google Maps whenever you come across glaring mistakes. You can inform Google after making the correction on the app yourself.
Overall, keeping yourself and your personal details secure is very critical.