I am pasting the mails I sent to IITK friends today. Please spread the word, as it appears that some other cases of receiving similar phone calls have also come into picture.
This is really embarrassing but also important. There is this who called me up under the name Shyam Sunder, claiming to be a passout of 1996 batch. He said he has been working in Sydney Australia and has come down to India to interview with some company in Chennai. His wallet has been picked up and he needs some help to get back to Bombay.
I was a little suspicious in the beginning so I asked for some identity proof. His ICICI account showed the name Shyam Sunder. On google, I found out that there indeed was a alumni named Shyam Sunder in 1996 batch. The page which showed his name didn't open (it timed out). So I fell for the bait and transferred money to the account. He promised to contact me back on reaching Bombay.
After I had made the transfer, I just out of curiosity again tried to load that page and lo ! Shyam Sunder from 1997 batch (MSc. Chem) actually died in 2002 from blood cancer !!. Details are on the 1996 webpage since he joined the institute along with them. Then I searched for that ICICI account number and found this:
This guy has been doing this for sometime now I guess. If only I would have searched for the account number first !! But please spread the info. Since he will definitely try to contact others also.
Is there some public place where this information can be posted so that it turns up quickly on google? I will put it up on my blog. Please do so on your blogs also. I am also going to file a complaint with ICICI Bank about the misusage of this account but I don't think much can be done on that front.
This whole episode has been quite disheartening !
This reminds me that I forgot to mention the account number in the last mail. It is 004701530996, Koramangala Branch, ICICI. Please make this information as visible as possible.
About the phone number, I guess he may have similarly pleaded somebody that he has lost everything and needs to make some urgent calls and used the phone since I got the call from a Chennai local number: 91-44-52163430.
I talked with ICICI customer care. They have asked me to lodge a written complaint and said that bank will "follow up the case" which amounts to nothing I guess but I will file the complaint nonetheless. Cyber Crime Branch people want me to come down to the branch between 10:00 and 5:00 on weekdays to "discuss" the matter with them. I will see if I can manage that.