The prestigious Bank of Baroda has recently been caught in a web of controversy related to its net banking application, ‘BoB World’. The issue has highlighted significant security lapses, pointing towards potential oversight within the bank’s internal processes.

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Reports suggest that several customers found their bank accounts linked to unfamiliar mobile numbers, a breach that directly contradicts banking norms and regulations. In response to these security breaches, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has temporarily halted new customer registrations on BoB World.

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Interestingly, the finger of suspicion is also pointing towards the bank’s own employees. Allegedly, in certain cases, fraudsters managed to siphon funds from customers’ accounts with the inside help of bank personnel.

Pressure to Boost Registrations Leads to Scandal

This entire situation began to unfold in March 2022. The bank’s upper management, eager to see increased registrations for their ‘BoB World’ app, exerted tremendous pressure on their regional branches. In their zeal to increase the number of app downloads, some employees reportedly linked customers’ bank accounts to their personal numbers.

Once these employees received the OTP on their mobile numbers, they completed the app registration, thereby artificially boosting download numbers. In some instances, the mobile numbers used belonged to bank agents, known as business correspondents, who operate in remote areas. Although the initial motive was merely to increase downloads, the situation took a sinister turn.

After these manipulated downloads were completed, the accounts were swiftly unregistered. But then, the same numbers were reused to link other customers’ accounts. In one alarming instance, a regional office nodal officer even allegedly offered to link a customer’s bank account using both his and his wife’s mobile numbers.

Bank of Baroda's mobile app
Bank of Baroda’s mobile app

A media report highlights a retired employee who wrote to the top management about the increasing undue pressure on staff to boost downloads. This whistleblower pointed out how this pressure had created a conducive environment for fraudulent activities, a warning that eventually proved to be accurate. During this debacle, a reported 362 customers lost a total of around 22 lakh rupees.

Tips to Ensure Account Safety

  • Link Your Mobile Number: As soon as you open a bank account, ensure you link your mobile number with both the account and the net banking facility. Once a mobile number is linked to an account, adding a new number becomes challenging.
  • Transaction Alerts: Always ensure you receive real-time transaction alerts on your mobile phone whenever there’s a withdrawal or deposit.
  • Never Share OTP: One must never share the OTP received on their mobile number with anyone, even bank employees.
  • Report Suspicious Activities: If you notice any unusual activity, immediately report it to the bank and the cyber police. If funds are transferred without your permission due to the bank’s oversight, it’s the bank’s responsibility to recover the amount.

In this digital age, while technological advancements aim to make our lives easier, it’s essential to remain vigilant to ensure our financial safety.

Sonu Roy is originally a resident of Samastipur district of Bihar, has been working as a writer in digital journalism for the last 4 years. In his career of 4 years, he has good experience from politics, automobile, motivation, sports to technology field.