From emails by Nigerian heiresses offering their million dollar inheritance to messages claiming you've won the lottery, the internet has opened up a pandora's box of phishing scams. From tempting people with unreal rewards, scamsters are now using threats of cutting power over unpaid bills and shutting bank accounts, to squeeze out details. Now messages promising income tax refunds are being sent to common Indians, to swindle money from them.
Could also hijack the entire device
Apart from the Income Tax Department, cyberscammers are also posing as representatives of ICICI Bank, State Bank of India and Axis Bank among others. The campaigns use links that redirect people to third-party apps, which seek various device permission and even full control of the smartphone. Using this, they steal everything from microphone recordings, images, videos, messages and contacts, as well as e-banking apps.
Creating realistic apps for scams
The scamsters are also designing icons that look similar to the logos of banks and the Income Tax Department, to trick users. Staying on guard against these apps and downloading only official apps is one of the steps that users can take. At the same time avoiding links altogether is the best way forward, since even clicking on them could unleash malware into the device.
Scams are also seasonal, as people were getting dubious messages promising Diwali gifts and discounts, while they also got similar texts on behalf of Tanishq on Valentines Day. Simply put, an offer too good to be true on the internet, is probably a false promise.
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