In what appears to be targeted breach of online-security, large sums of money were debited from the SBI salary accounts of Indian Air Force officers at various locations over the past 10 days. The IAF has registered an FIR with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Special Cell of Delhi Police. The amounts are believed to have been transferred to one “Target Canada”, according to the debit messages.
“There have been a very large number of fraud transactions using SBI debit cards of Defence Salary Package account of around 45 IAF officers posted at various places. These transactions are taking place throughout the country. It is being done by Target Canada using same POS number. Every day the number of cases is increasing. Amount involved is from 11,000 to 2 lakh rupees for all these transactions. Please take precautions if u have DSP ac with SBI and immediate action is to block the card,” a message being circulated amongst the IAF officers read.
Target Canada is a Canada-based discount departmental store. However, it could not be established whether the said transactions pertain to the same chain.
While the IAF officials said the organisation has “approached the bank, spoken to the bank and lodged an FIR”, the copy of the FIR filed by Wing Commander Tejveer Singh of Provost and Security unit of IAF, New Delhi read that a large number of cases have been reported by “IAF officers having defence salary package account with the State Bank of India” stating fraudulent withdrawal of large amount of money from their salary accounts. The FIR says such transactions are likely to have a “direct effect on the morale of the officers of the IAF”.
Although the complaint against unknown persons was registered only on Thursday, cautionary messages have been circulating amongst IAF officials for over a week now. “ Word of caution...officers account being hacked in the name of Canada Stores...3 live cases reported frm AFA, 1 frm Yalahanka, 1 frm Jaipur etc,” read one message. Another asked officers to “exercise caution while using SBI Debit card in the ATMs or shops, also internet banking needs to be done with utmost caution”.
While an official email response from the SBI is still awaited, sources said breach of security “is impossible unless individuals share their pin details with another individual even as some indicated that the breach could have been on part of the