The coronavirus outbreak has accelerated the pace of digital transactions — and online frauds. Chandigarh Police officials estimate that people lost Rs 4 crores to cyber crime in the last 13 months- between July 1, 2020, and August 15, this year, ET reported.
Although there are no official figures, the police say they registered and handled approximately 8,000 complaints. In more than six months, cybercriminals duped shoppers, buyers, and sellers of secondhand items the most. The number of such reported incidents is 568. The majority of these consumers attempted to purchase things online or sell them on classifieds websites such as OLX, but they lost some of their hard-earned money.
How did they do it?
Fake employment letters and loans: The cheats defrauded innocent people by sending fake employment letters posted online. They sent letters to many who lost their jobs during these uncertain times. In total, they managed to mislead 116 people under the guise of obtaining a job or obtaining a work visa, and another 84 people in exchange for a loan.
Credit Card Cloning: The cyber cell received 518 reports of debit or credit card cloning, which resulted in fraudulent ATM withdrawals.
OTP Fraud: 371 people shared OTPs with strangers impersonating bank and corporate personnel.
Insurance Fraud: Fraudsters also sold LIC plans or handed over fake insurance claims to 17 customers, who lost money.
Social Media hacking/ identity theft: In the last six months, police have received 446 reports of social media hacking or the creation of bogus social media IDs for cheating.
In terms of arrests, the police arrested 38 cybercriminals from July 2020 to July 2021. They apprehended six of them at Jamtara, Jharkhand, famous as a refuge for cybercriminals in India. A number of the accused were also arrested from West Bengal, Mumbai, and Delhi.
Recovery of Lost Money
The police say they were successful in recovering Rs. 1.2 crores, which they refunded to the victims.
What should you do if you are cheated?
Cybercriminals are on the loose in the entire country. One report suggests that about 59% of Indian adults experienced cybercrime in the last 12 months. The government is also privy to the fact, as their written reply to the Parliament said that the Home Ministry’s cybercrime reporting portal received more than 3 lakh complaints in the last 18 months.
Consequently, the government has started a new helpline number 155260 where citizens can report the incident. It is advisable to report the incident instantly on this number, as the officials can then stop the transaction/ freeze the beneficiary account before the criminals withdraw the money. You can alternatively register an FIR with the local cyber cell.
Also, prevention is any day better than cure. You should also try to understand how criminals use your data to commit a cybercrime to take preventive measures. You should also learn how to avoid falling for a phishing campaign, as phishing scams are increasingly targeting Indian bank customers.