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Law in Motion: Cyber Crimes – 21

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By EMN Updated: Jul 22, 2021 9:58 pm
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(d)Fraud Using Request Money QR Code or Link on Google Pay/ Phone Pe/ Paytm –

Fraudsters send links or QR Codes to targets or victims, promising them cash transfer or discount coupons or offers. The promise is that on scanning the QR Codes or links the target will receive cash/ money into their bank accounts by Google Pay or Paytm or Phone Pe, etc.

However, instead of receiving money, their own bank accounts get debited once the codes are scanned or links clicked.

Cautions

The QR Codes are money transfer requests to their accounts;

Never accept/scan QR Codes from unverified sources or untrustworthy persons or companies;

For receiving money there is no need to share or enter MPIN or UPI PIN. PIN is only required to SEND money.

(e) Frauds Using Google Docs App-

Applications like Google Docs are used to companies or researchers to collect data. Fraudsters can manipulate and log fake data into Google Forms or Shared google Docs, pose as being from Banks or Financial Institutions or Govt offices and may ask users or targets to Update confidential data like ATM Cards, Debit/ Credit cards, UPI, PIN, Passwords, login names, phone numbers, linked to bank accounts, Aadhaar details, PIN Number, Date of Birth.

Once the data is submitted, the fraudster uses this data to defraud the victim/ target.

In such cases, there can be multiple targets approached at the same time, hoping that some will fall prey.

Cautions

-Do not share banking details online on forms, etc.;

-Banks do not ask customers to fill online data;

-Banks never ask for PINs or OTPs or passwords – they already have this data in Encrypted Form which even they cannot see.

-Banks usually send notifications on your registered mobile numbers directly to customers;

-Always call up the Call Centre numbers if in doubt.

(f) Frauds Using OLX/ Amazon/ Flipkart etc. E-Commerce Platforms-

Fraudsters use e-commerce platforms to place advertisements on them for lucrative offers. The e- commerce platforms may either be genuine or fake too.

When the victim/ target wants to place an order, the fraudster asks the victim to transfer token money in the garb of packing charges, registration charges, transportation charges or token money or even the packets being held at customs etc.

Once the money is transferred, the fraudster disappears with the money.

Cautions

-Always check if e-commerce platform is genuine;

-No seller asks for advance money;

-Do not enter MPIN or PIN to UPI apps;

-UPI transfers only require PIN for sending money, not receiving;

-All registration, transportation charges etc. are included in the deals of e-commerce platforms;

(g) Fraud Through Fake Cash Back Offers –

Fraudsters generate QRs and links for Google Pay, Paytm or PhonePe, etc. and send these to targets for ENCASHMENT, promising CASH TRANSFER to victims.

Once the QR Codes/ links are clicked, rather than receiving money, the victim is actually defrauded and money debited.

Cautions

-Never forward or click any links or URLs from unverified or untrustworthy sources;

-MPIN and PIN are only required for transfer money to others, not receiving. If any requests or suggestions for MPIN or PIN or OTP are received, it is a Clear Indication that money will be transferred out from your accounts;

(h) Fraud Using Screensharing Apps-

There are numerous ‘SCRENSHARING’ APPS. Some of the common ones are Quick Support, TeamViewer, Anydesks, etc.

These apps are used for remote-office management and remote control of computers and smartphone devices. These apps enable the user to control the other devices.

The devices start functioning as Clients and the Control unit can virtually do anything with the client, without any knowledge or permission of the client user.

The fraudster can pose as a company agent and offer help in filling-up forms or KYC or personal data for banks etc. but will first ask the user to click on a link and download and install the remote-control app.

Once the app is installed, the fraudster/criminal can do anything with your device – make telephone calls, erase data, read your messages, use it as a recording device etc. the victim’s mobile actually virtually passes into the hands of the fraudster/ criminal without the knowledge of victim.

The fraudster can receive and read all activity taking place on the target phone and even make financial transactions.

Cautions

-Never install screensharing or remote-control apps from untrustworthy sources;

-Never install these on suggestion of anyone posing as service center or customer care;

-Banks never ask users to install and use 3rd party apps for anything related to banking.

(i) Sim Card Swapping Fraud-

This is a combination of fraud and identity theft. The cyber criminals obtain the target’s mobile number and then get a New SIM Card with the same registered number from the mobile or Telecom Services Provider. Once a new SIM Card has been obtained for the same number, the fraudster gets access to important information like OTPs or even chats like WhatsApp, signal or Telegram, etc. which are apps linked to mobile numbers.

These SIM SWAPS can be used to carry out financial transactions or even send fake or unwanted messages or even block communications from the original user or victim.

Cautions

-Always report unexpected disruption of mobile services to the mobile company or service provider;

– Always report theft of SIM Cards to service providers and/ or to the police so that the card cannot be misused;

– Block all services from banks etc. linked to the SIM Card or mobile numbers;

– ask the mobile service provider to block the SIM card immediately before you get a new one/ duplicate issued;

– the 20- Digit MS ISDN number on the SIM card is very crucial. Do not share it with anyone;

– Besides SMS alerts, always activate email alerts for banks so that there is always back-up information channel available for you besides SMS.

(j) Frauds Using fake Social Media Accounts –

Fraudsters and criminals target users of popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. by creating fake user profiles by using personal data and photographs of the genuine users.

These profiles are then used to send messages to the friends and contacts for desperate situations like medical or security emergencies and seeking financial help. Once money is sent, the profile disappears from social media.

Many friends/ contacts of the target may fall prey to the tactics of the fraudsters.

Sometimes bank accounts can also be hacked by sending malicious links or URLs to the contacts of targets/ victims whose profile has been faked;

Cautions

-Keep the privacy settings in Social Media as ‘My Friends’ only;

-Before transferring money on any request received through social media platform, always check with your friend,

-Call up your friend or his family members if there is a message showing desperation.

-Consult others before transferring money – don’t be an over- enthusiastic, over – sympathetic fool or philanthropist;

-Turn up 2- step verification for your SM accounts;

-Don’t believe TEXT ONLY message result. Call up the person making a request on audio or video call;

-Maintain strong passwords;

-If you come across a con act in your name or your fake profile, inform your friends and well – wishes and ask them to stay alert and not transfer money;

-Lodge an FIR with police;

(k) Sextortion –

Sometimes we fall prey to our basic instincts – watching pornography or indulging in porn acts. Mobile phones and laptops are used to watch pornography by almost all sections of the society. While watching porn or indulging in pornography in private may not be an offence by itself, however, Child Pornography is an offence by itself.

On the other hand, the smartphones – with audio and visual medium and cameras have opened up newer forms of interactive communication social media platforms like Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, signal telegram have opened up newer means of interaction.

Live video-chats on communication platforms have become a fertile ground for exploitation by criminals. Cyber criminals create fake social media profiles and send friend requests to targets/ victims.

The criminals often entice victims to indulge in and share videos or audio or event text chats;

The criminals record these audio- visual chats be screen recording;

Criminals may also take screenshots of targets in compromising positions;

After a while the criminals start blackmailing their victims that they will expose the chats/ recordings either to family members or on social media;

Criminals ask their victims to pay exorbitant sums of money online or by bank transfers or by UPIs to their bank accounts/ phone numbers;

Cautions

-Avoid watching or accessing pornographic sites;

-Avoid friendship with unknown people or strangers online or on social media platform;

-Never make video calls with strangers or social media platforms;

-Do not indulge in Porn-Talk or Porn-Video Sharing or sharing photographs images of private parts with strangers on social media;

-Do not indulge in text porn with strangers on social media;

-If you have committed a mistake – please inform the police and let them investigate;

-Do Not Pay Any Money to the extortionist thinking or expecting that if you pay-up, you will not be blackmailed. In fact, if you pay once, the demands of extortionist will increase only;

-The extortionist still has your photographs and can keep misusing them unless caught and unless the photos/ images/ videos are taken away from criminal.

Rupin Sharma
rupinsharma@gmail.com

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By EMN Updated: Jul 22, 2021 9:58:28 pm