NewsMobile Explainer: As India logs in 24*7, cyber criminals engineer new ways to scam people

With internet usage and screen exposure seeing an unprecedented spike courtesy the raging COVID-19 pandemic, reports of cyber frauds are coming in dime a dozen every single day.

Scamsters are taking the cyber route via web-skimming, malware campaigns and phishing scams to dupe gullible users.

X CIIX India Habitat CentreX New Delhi.X Armed ForcesX Indian IndustryX Academia and R&D organisationsX Ashish Ranjan PrasadX VSMX ADCX Signal Officer-in-Chief and Senior Colonel CommandantX Corps of Signals.

Scores of internet users indulge in transactions via e-commerce websites these days. Frauds in the e-commerce sector involve false claims, fake buyer accounts and promo code abuse. Other frauds include account takeover, identity theft, card detail theft, triangulation fraud and many more.

However, cyber attackers have evolved and come up with innovative ideas.

Here are some new forms of cyber attacks that criminals are indulging in to con people:

QR Code Scam

One of the latest frauds involves faking the Quick Response (QR) Codes to extract money from people. Fraudsters share the fake QR code through WhatsApp and ask the person to scan the code in order to receive money in their account. Once they scan the code, their money is transferred to the fraudsters.

Email Scam

The fraudster sends a seemingly legitimate email. Inside the email, you’ll find a link to an “official” website. Once you visit this link you’ll be asked to provide your login credentials, personal details, or money, which eventually leads to financial loss.

Notably, the website is almost indistinguishable from the company’s official website.

Take a look at the following email:

It looks like a legitimate email sent by a reputed Canadian hotel. However, it’s a scam. The person who received this mail had not shared their CV/Resume with the hotel.

SMS Scam

An SMS scam is identical to a standard email phishing scam.

Fraudsters act like a representative of a reputed organization to steal personal information such as your credit card details, bank account information, social security number, etc. fraudsters send text messages which require you to verify your account details, make a payment, or claim a prize. Once you click on the link provided in the SMS, sensitive data from your device gets leaked.

Have a look at this SMS:

At first, you’ll feel as if the message is sent by PayTm. But, once you look at it closely, you’ll realize that the spelling of the brand is not the same. This message has been sent by ‘PYATM.’ This is an example of SMS scam.

OTP Scam

Nowadays, fraudsters are scamming people into giving away their OTPs or are obtaining them through malware. They call and pretend to be a representative of an organization you are associated with. Once they receive your OTP, they are able to scam you financially.

Fake Oximeter Apps

The Criminal Investigation Department of the West Bengal Police had also warned that downloading fake oximeter apps could lead to phishing attacks and theft of personal data.

CID officials added that that fake oximeter apps have been developed to cheat people with the promise of measuring the oxygen level in their blood.

Some apps require people to undergo fingerprint scanning, however, once the user scans his fingerprint, the people behind the cyber attack may get access to the fingerprint-protected data on the users’ smartphone as well as on various online payment apps used by the victim.

The Data Security Council of India in partnership with PayPal released a report on online payment frauds, threats in the payment ecosystem, and recommendations for various stakeholders involved in the payment ecosystem.

The report provided some recommendations for minimizing the risk of payment frauds such as performing regular risk assessment and threat monitoring.

With increasing cybercrime, we need to be alert and aware at all times. When you feel unsure about a message received under the name of a reputed organization, make sure to bring it to their notice. This way, we can do our bit in fighting cybercrime.

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