As more Indians get online through cheap smartphones and even cheaper data so has increased the number of cybercrimes. The Ministry of Home Affairs has come out with an online portal to report cybercrime and has increased awareness among net users as the only solution to the problem. For the law enforcement agencies, however, the innovative ways through which the frauds get carried out still remains a challenge.
Here, we look at a few of the innovative ways through which cybercriminals have duped the public in Hyderabad, using social media and online payment platforms.
1) The KBC Fraud
Under this form of fraud, the victims would receive a call from an unknown number informing them that they have won a lucky draw in Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC). The calls would be made through WhatsApp from numbers with +92 country code, that of Pakistan. The profile picture would be that of the KBC logo, they would also drop a message stating that the person has won a lottery of Rs 25 lakhs. The fraudsters would ask for money as payments for GST, income tax processing fee etc. The victims are lured in the pretext that the fee paid would be refunded and transferred back with the cash prize. However, after making the payment, the fraudsters would just switch off their phones. Hyderabadâ€™s Cybercrime police urged those who receive such calls or WhatsApp text messages to alert them immediately and has recorded 11 cases with similar modus operandi reported ToI. The fraudster uses country codes of Pakistan, Dubai, Singapore and other countries using virtual phone numbers, the Hyderabad police have traced 90% of the bank accounts in the KBC lucky draw cases to Bihar. Read more here.
2) UPI (Unified Payment Interface) Fraud
Most of us often source phone numbers of services, helplines and customer care from the internet search engines, but scammers have now begun editing the phone numbers adding their own under the profile of establishments. Thus when an unsuspecting victim sources the number online and places a call seeking a service, they would, in fact, be dialling the cyber-criminal. In many instances that came to light this year, the victims who dialled these numbers were sent links to google forms. The victims were asked to enter their UPI pin numbers on these forms that would be instantly accessed by the fraudster. The UPI pin is connected to bank accounts, once the pin number is entered on the form, the fraudster would begin draining the victimâ€™s bank account.
3) Online markets
Online markets such as Facebook market and Olx enable one to sell and buy second-hand goods with ease, social media platforms like Instagram are also used to sell second-hand goods and even Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon accounts for a cheaper rate. But be warned, these social media platforms have a sizable number of fraudsters with fake identity lurking around. They target mostly youngsters who are on the lookout for cheap electronic gadgets, accessories and clothes.Victims who show interest in buying the items being sold at rates below the market rates are asked to make payments via online payment gateways such a Paytm. The victim would be shown a fake courier receipt and a tracking ID, but the items would either not arrive or when they do would be of poor quality. Most city police units receive 10 such cases related to online market frauds every month.
To combat cybercrime, the MHA has Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C)for the country this year June and has taken up awareness campaigns. The Centre has also launched the online National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, www.cybercrime.gov.in to enable complainants to report complaints pertaining to all types of cybercrimes with special focus on cyber crimes against women and children.
According to the NCRB data during 2017, 56.0% of cyber-crime cases were registered with the motive of fraud (12,213 out of 21,796 cases) this was followed by sexual exploitation with 6.7% (1,460 cases) and causing disrepute with 4.6% (1,002 cases). India recorded 9,622, 11,592 and 12,317 cases of cybercrime in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.