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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Mumbai: No impact on cyber crime, fraudsters use COVID-19 to dupe people

Unlike other crimes that have seen a dip, Mumbai Police said they have received information that there have been rampant cases of fraudulent phone calls from across the country, prompting an advisory.

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai | Published: April 7, 2020 4:14:13 am
cyber Crime rate, India lockdown, coronavirus otbreak, Mumbai news, indian express news An officer said with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allowing banks to grant a three-month moratorium on loan repayments, cyber fraudsters have been calling people posing as bank employees and cheating them. (Representational Image)

For cyber crime such as vishing, which take place from within the confines of four walls, the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has not had any impact on fraudsters.

Unlike other crimes that have seen a dip, Mumbai Police said they have received information that there have been rampant cases of fraudulent phone calls from across the country, prompting an advisory. While the traditional modus operandi of fraudsters, who claim that they are calling from the bank, is the same, they are now making excuses linked to COVID-19 to cheat people.

An officer said with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allowing banks to grant a three-month moratorium on loan repayments, cyber fraudsters have been calling people posing as bank employees and cheating them.

In some cases, police have found that fraudsters have been sending SMSes to people, claiming to be from their bank and asking them to download particular applications that helps them gain control over mobile phones.

The police Monday had to release a note to caution people. They have mentioned two kinds of modus operandi in their note. In the first case, a person calls up a victim pretending to be from the bank. “The caller tells the victim that if he wants to avail three-month moratorium on EMI, he would need to provide some details so that it could be updated on their systems,” an officer said.

The fraudsters then take these details, including One Time Password (OTP), and withdraw money from bank account. The officer said another way was sending SMSes to people claiming to be from the bank. The SMS asks people to download apps such as Any Desk, Quick Support, Team Viewer, using which they gain control of the victim’s mobile phone. The fraudsters then make fraudulent transactions using the details.

A senior officer said, “Callers normally operate from small rooms, where they are provided bank details of victims and phone numbers. They keep changing their modus operandi from time to time and, this time around, they are using announcements made regarding COVID-19.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber) Vishal Thakur said, “We have been informed that fraudsters have been using excuses to cheat people across the country. Hence, we have issued an advisory.”

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