Ashish Bhagoria (CEO – HimSamachar.Com): HimSamachar.Com has identified and has been able to expose a new scam of the Insurance Sector “Fake calls from IRDA”. The recent scam is to trap the existing policy holders who are not satisfied with their existing plan and are not getting desired returns, bonus or claims. People across India these days are receiving calls from Telephone Numbers of Metro cities and the tele-callers introduce themselves as representatives of IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority). After disclosing their false identity they claim that this call is on behalf of IRDA to address the complaints and grievances of the policy holder. The person receiving such phone call gets convinced and starts sharing the problems faced with the existing insurance policy. On understanding the issue of the policy holders, these tele-callers convince that they will get the refund of the existing policy and the policy holder can withdraw the actual amount of the premium paid to company. These callers, the fake IRDA representatives, keep complete knowledge about functioning of insurance companies, regulatory authority and norms and then they make the other person convinced confidently and smartly with their conversation. When the policy holders believe that these calls are from IRDA Insurance Verification Department from Delhi or Hyderabad, they get trapped and loose more money for getting refund of the existing policy.
First of all, after convincing the policy holder about their false identity, they take policy details like policy number, policy holder and nominee details. After that they login to computer and access the complete details of particular policy, account statement, premium paid, existing fund value and the charges deducted by insurance company. Once they give all financial details to the policy holder; the policy holder builds more confidence over them that if these callers are able to access their account details, they are genuine people. Then they give two options to policy holder for settling the issue. The first option they offer is to surrender the policy through them to get the entire refund of money and its actual value. If the refund is processed through them, they will also pay back the agent’s commission and all types of charges deducted by insurance company till date. And if the policy is surrendered at branch office of insurance company, the policy holder will get only current value as per plan and will also have to pay additional surrender charges. Obviously, the person will prefer getting refund of entire money through IRDA representatives for financial benefit and from the branch of insurance company. The second option these callers offer is to convert the existing plan to a guaranteed plan through them where a fixed rate of interest will be given.
Finally, when the policy holder gets ready to get the claim settled for refund through these people, they put a condition that for getting the refund the person will have to buy another policy from them. The cost of premium to be paid for new policy of a different company generally is equal to the annual premium paid for the existing policy, which can between Rs 25,000 to 1,00,000. The new policy is to be purchased only through these fake IRDA representatives. These people, then, convince to deposit this money to their bank accounts or make a cheque in favour of the company whose policy is being sold. And they also claim that the refund of the existing policy will be transferred to the bank account of the policy holder within 45 days from the date of buying new policy. The refund will come from IGMS (Integrated Grievance Management System) of IRDA and they are calling from IRDA Grievance Call Centre to help the policy holders.
To get immediate relief when policy holders deposit money into the accounts of these fraud agencies, they never get any kind of refund and don’t even get a new policy. Many people across India are being cheated by such fake calls and the most important thing to investigate is that who are the actual people behind this scandal. HimSamachar.Com made an attempt to understand their modus-operandi. Actually these people are agents, advisors, broking agencies and franchisees of insurance companies. These agencies have their account codes with all insurance companies through which they are able to login to online software of a company and are able to view the policy details of a particular policy number with few verification details, which they already obtain from the person being trapped. These tele-callers do not have any connection with IRDA. Since, they are working in insurance sector, they have some knowledge about IRDA norms and policy plans. They make best efforts to convince the other person. For getting more business they attract people to buy policies of other companies for which they get good commission. First of all they will try to take money into their personal account. If the other person refuses to do so, they ask to make a cheque in the name of insurance company, which they will actually use for paying a premium of someone else’s policy for which they have already collected cash. And last of the last even if they issue a new policy, they earn good money as a commission or brokerage. If the policy holder tries to act smart and want to know the status of the refund, they submit a complaint on IGMS of IIRDA and give the reference number of complaint.
This new technique of making easy money could only be developed because there are many dissatisfied customers who have invested money without having complete knowledge of insurance industry. There are many Insurance Companies in India and millions of agents, advisors and franchisees working for these companies to make good money out of pockets of investors. In most of the cases the customers are sold policies without giving them required knowledge and without disclosing the details regarding commissions, type of investment, term of policy, lock in period, risk factors, maintenance charges, premium allocation charges, administration charges, surrender charges, mortality charges, switching charges, partial withdrawal charges, fund management charges and miscellaneous charges. At the time of maturity or surrender of a policy when policy holders do not get what they have been committed at the time of selling a policy, they get frustrated and feel cheated. And this frustration makes them victim of such fake calls where they loose more money in hope of getting benefit from existing computer.
Therefore, we strongly recommend our readers not to entertain any phone call offering gains through insurance, lotteries, gold and all alluring benefits. They should immediately report the matter to police with the phone numbers of calling agents. We further advise our reader to be careful while buying an insurance policy and should know the complete details by visiting the nearest branch office of the insurance company before investing the hard earned money. Insurance policies are for protection of money invested by investors and all matters should be resolved with branch office of company or with competent authorities.