According to the SOP document released by EPFO, the new guidelines restrict the timeframe for freezing accounts to 30 days, extendable up to 14 days for due diligence. EPFO underscores the importance of a precautionary verification process to guard against fraud, protect capital, and prevent unauthorised withdrawals.
According to an ET report, EPFO has mentioned in the SOP document that the first and most important action is to protect the money in the account. It’s necessary to freeze operations for MIDs/UANs/establishments when there’s a chance of fraud or fraudulent withdrawal.As a vital social security organisation, EPFO serves over 60 million subscribers through schemes like the Employees’ Provident Fund, Employees’ Pension Scheme, and Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme.
EPFO’s security measures and rapid response
To enhance account security, EPFO has implemented multiple layers of verification for member IDs, UANs, and establishments. The objective is to identify potential cases of suspicious accounts or transactions and prevent impersonation or fraudulent withdrawals, ensuring the security of funds and preventing any capital flight.
In the event of irregularities or fraud, EPFO assures swift actions to recover funds and resolve the issue. The SOPs dictate that fraudulent cases will be reported to the authorities for criminal prosecution, and field office officials will be held accountable for identified lapses.
The SOP document further specifies that in cases of fraudulently withdrawn money, the concerned regional offices will quantify the amount and recover it, along with any applicable interest. These recovered funds will be re-credited to the genuine member’s account, bringing closure to the incident and maintaining the integrity of the EPFO system.