That fraudulent emails masquerading as jackpot announcements continue to dupe sizeable sections of the Indian population was in evidence on Thursday as Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan said that he receives regular enquiries about sums the central bank has apparently promised to individuals.
“I keep saying at every forum I can that those of you who get emails from the RBI promising you large sums of money—Rs 50 lakhs—if only you send a small transaction fee to some account which is named in the email, many of you ignore these emails. But, every day, I get five or six emails from people who have not ignored these emails and sent money and found they've lost out. The point is that we have very many fly-by-night operators in the country and what we have to do is deal with them,” the RBI chief said at the launch of Sachet, a website meant for members of the public to obtain information regarding entities that are allowed to accept deposits, lodge complaints, and share information about entities that accept deposits illegally.
“I'd suggest that all of us ask, if they've got Rs 50 lakhs to give me, why do they need me to send Rs 25,000 in the first place? Why can't they just deduct the Rs 25,000 from the Rs 50 lakhs and send me the remainder? That question should be asked by anybody who gets such a solicitation. The solicitations look very, very formal, impressive, (referring to) some agreement concluded in Washington between the IMF, the World Bank and the RBI about money coming to you. Please ignore such emails. They are fake. The RBI does not given out money. I don't personally give out money,” Rajan continued, to peals of laughter from the audience.
Speaking at the event, deputy governor S.S. Mundra said of Sachet, “...it provides an interface when members of the public seek certain enquiries, if they have certain doubts. They can also register a complaint and if they have any market information (or) they may find activities that are suspicious and may not be legitimate, they can use this interface to put a kind of alert.”
The portal is also intended as a tool for better coordination among regulators and state government agencies as they tackle cases of this nature. It also has a closed user group for state level coordination committees (SLCCs) on which they would be able to exchange relevant information and market intelligence on a real-time basis.
Representatives of some state governments also spoke at the event through video conferencing. The state of Odisha suggested that the portal, which is currently available in English and Hindi, be made live in regional languages as well to reach a larger section of the public and Bihar asked if it was possible to build a mechanism for states to update the information available on the website. Gujarat asked for an SOP (standard operating procedure) for states to follow on receipt of information through the website.
S. Raman, whole-time member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), said representatives from the Enforcement Directorate and multi-state cooperative societies should also be made part of the SLCCs, as illegal deposit-takers sometimes have linkages with money laundering and/or set up multi-state cooperative societies to manage operations.