The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has recently issued an advisory for citizens about cyber-criminals using bots on social media platforms to defraud citizens. Scammers use “bots” to trick unsuspecting users into making online payments to accounts under their control, such as through internet banking or UPI transfers, the advisory stated. On the occurrence or facing cyber-crime, citizens can call on 1930 for help, or report on www.cybercrime.gov.in.
Informing about the modus operandi used by the scammers, the advisory stated, "The bots seem to be activated when a genuine user requests payment information from another user through messages or posts in social media platforms. Fraudsters masquerade as the other user by using the other user’s profile picture and adopting a similar username (with small changes), and supplying the first user (potential victim) with false payment information. The victim pays into the fraudster’s account.”
“Fraudsters reply to such comments using scam bots and give their own account details. They delete their reply comments quickly to hide their identity. Victims don't even realise they have been duped,” the advisory stated.
Stating the measures citizens can take to avoid falling prey to such fraud, the advisory said, “Avoid initiating conversations related to financial transactions on social media platforms. Examine multiple times when making an online transaction. Avoid sharing banking details online. Check for usernames and URLs when being asked about sharing some details or being asked for money. Fraudsters typically show urgency in their messages. Be careful, if a request seems too urgent.”