Parent receives fraud call by accessing QR code

ST Correspondent
Friday, 22 June 2018

When the parent got in touch with her daughter’s school, she learned that no such kind of information or application for a scholarship was given by the school

Pune: In a shocking incident, a parent received a call from an app company demanding Rs 30,000 to be deposited first to avail Rs 50,000 as a special scholarship instituted by Indian Institute of Technology. The parent alleged that she had downloaded Diksha app of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) which was provided on the school textbook of her daughter. Her daughter is studying in Std VII in a PMC-run school. 

“I scanned the QR code given on the first page of the textbook and downloaded the app,” she said on the condition of anonymity. QR code (quick response code) is a type of 2D barcode that is often used to provide access to information through a mobile phone. 

“After downloading the app, I filled up the necessary requirements mentioned in it. The next day I received a call from a person who said that he represents the ‘Topper’ app and informed that my daughter was selected by IIT for a scholarship. IIT has selected 100 candidates out 10,000 candidates for this scholarship. Hence to avail this scholarship, we are required to pay Rs 30,000 so that we will get the scholarship of Rs 50,000,” the parent said. 

She said, “The person told me that someone from the company will visit our house for a counselling session and insisted that my husband remain present for it. He said that we need to keep at least Rs 3,000-4,000 cash in hand. So in case if we like to apply for the scholarship we can immediately choose it by paying the amount.” 

When the parent got in touch with her daughter’s school, she learned that no such kind of information or application for a scholarship was given by the school. The school then told her to inform about the incident to Balbharati, the State school textbook production house based in the city. 

Later, I sent a written complaint to Balbharati. The parent also informed that similar incidents have taken place within her acquaintance and few of them fell prey to  fraud and lost money. 

However, Director of Balbharati Sunil Magar denied that there was any potential of leaking information from the given QR code. “It is provided by MHRD and they have strong security set up for the QR code. It is not possible that any information will have leaked while accessing the code on the textbook. The student must have downloaded a wrong app or filled some other data form. However, if we receive any such complaints, we will have to check the authenticity of the allegation and then take necessary action,” said Magar. 

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