Bank of Baroda Misused Customer Data for App Registration, RBI Orders Inquiry

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Bank of Baroda, one of India’s largest banks, is under fire for allegedly misusing customer data to boost registrations for its bob World app.

According to whistleblowers, bank employees were pressured by higher-ups to find ways to increase app registrations, which included adding bogus mobile numbers to accounts and signing up customers without their consent. This practice exposed customers’ accounts to the risk of fraud, as the person with the registered mobile number could gain access to the account and carry out fraudulent activities.

In one case, a Bank of Baroda customer from Uttar Pradesh lost 1.5 million rupees ($18,150) in 2021 after his registered mobile number lapsed and was reassigned to someone else. The new owner of the mobile number exploited the mobile banking access to the hilt, wiping out the customer’s account.

Bank of Baroda has acknowledged that some employees may have violated internal policies, but it has denied that any customer data was compromised. However, the bank’s own internal emails acknowledge the risk of fraud due to the linking of bank accounts to strangers’ mobile numbers.

The scandal has raised concerns about the safety of customers’ money and the lack of internal controls and monitoring mechanisms within the bank. It also comes at a time when the Indian government is promoting digital banking and aiming to transition towards a less-cash economy.

The Reserve Bank of India, India’s central bank, has ordered an investigation into the matter. If the allegations are found to be true, Bank of Baroda could face serious consequences, including fines and penalties.

In the meantime, customers who are concerned about their accounts should contact Bank of Baroda to verify their mobile number registrations. They should also be careful about sharing their personal information with the bank, and they should monitor their accounts for any suspicious activity.

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