Lately with so many scams the mass population has become cautious of the unknown messages and calls. Govt agencies and NGOs have been working hard to spread awareness about various phishing calls and messages but as per the NCRB report 2022 – there has been a rapid 111% jump in cases of cybercrimes just in the previous year, what is the reason ?
Fake Police Scam
The cyber crimes work on a combination of fear and social engineering in order to exclude the victim from the reality till the scam/fraud is pulled off. The victim is often targeted at a time when his guards are down and is most vulnerable. One example of such scams is the new and updated whatsapp scam, with numerous advisories for cyber security over whatsapp these criminals have found a way to use these advisories against us. The scamster will register a mobile no. under the same and appointment of a police personnel and have a profile picture in uniform. This action almost makes it difficult for the victim to ignore such messages. The scamster will message on the pretext that you no. has been used in a cyber crime and you need to share your personal details for the police investigation, this will not happen at once, scamster tries to mount pressure and fear in a systematic approach and will sound very convincing, however the mistake which majority of the victims do is to share their personal information under the fear of a police proceedings, this data is then in turn used to commit phishing scams.
Relative/Friend from abroad Scam
Another form of such scam is famous in Punjab, where you would receive a whatsapp call from Canada or Australia and the person on the other side will try to imply that he/she knows you and establish that you are friends and have people in common as well. Generally this strategy works because in north India people have common and repetitive names. Once the trust is established, the scamster will tell you that he plans to come back to India in a couple of months and wants to invest some money in a company located in the city of the victim. He will assure you that he/she is sending the victim a huge amount of money to be given to an agent of the company where he wants to invest, and the scaster will simultaneously share a photo of a receipt of transfer, which is actually a forged receipt. Upon sharing the receipt the scamster will tell you that since it is an international transaction it might take nearly 24 hours for it to get through and he needs to give a small amount of money to the agent. This is where the victim falls in the trap, convinced by the forged receipt the victims believed that he will get a huge sum of money with in 24 hours and on the aspect of social engineering the victim gets ready to pay the small amount to the agent from his own pocket and the victim is duped of some significant money, generally in such scams the scammers supposedly transfers around Rs 15-20 lacs in the victims account and then asks him to pay around Rs 2-3 lacs to the agent which invariably goes out of the pocket of the victim.
What to do ?
It is vital that we do not develop a trust on anyone over the social media platforms without confirming their identity, these accounts/ contacts look very convincing but one should always remember that incase of any police proceeding you can verify the police personnel by asking and checking for their ID cards and appointments. In case of friends or family staying abroad avoid responding to unknown numbers until mentioned by the known person. Our safety is in our hands and hence arming ourselves with knowledge and awareness will help in eradicating such cyber criminals from our cyberspace.