25 September 2015

MUMBAI: In an alarming development showing that the global cyber fraud networks are targeting Indian financial institutions, GIC Re, the national re-insurer, has become a victim of ‘phishing’ attack and lost $1.1 million.

GIC Re’s Dubai office fell prey to the fraud sometime in July this year, an official of the re-insurer confirmed.

A masked (fake) email purportedly from the GIC Re CMD AK Roy who retired July-end was sent by the fraudsters to the company’s Dubai office, directing it to make a payment of $1.1 million to an American entity for reinsurance transaction.

The concerned official at Dubai branch made the payment. He later claimed he had tried to contact Roy to find out the veracity of mail, but couldn’t reach as Roy was travelling.

The fraud is now being investigated by the CBI and the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Government of India.

The fraudsters had managed to create an entire correspondence of mails, contracts, clarifications, etc., to mislead the Dubai office into transferring the money to a US Bank through Bank of Baroda.

“It is suspected that some amount is still in the banking system and not completely taken away. GIC Re has to work through the US banking’s privacy rules to get to the bottom of this computer phishing fraud,” the official said.

When contacted, AK Roy refused to comment, saying the matter is under investigation.

Nothing is known about the US entity so far. When asked if the fraud had anything to do with the terror financing, the official said there was no such indication.

“We have launched routine departmental action against the concerned officials for negligence,” the official said.

The Dubai official who transferred the money has been called back. GIC Re has also tightened its internal procedures to prevent any such occurrence in the future, the official said.

Source: The Economic Times