FPJ Special: Mumbai City Sees Staggering 12% Rise In E-Crimes

FPJ Special: Mumbai City Sees Staggering 12% Rise In E-Crimes

As per the statistics, 1,074 cases related to online cheating were registered between January and April. Police have classified online cheating cases in 11 categories.

Somendra SharmaUpdated: Thursday, May 30, 2024, 12:10 AM IST
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FPJ Special: Mumbai City Sees Staggering 12% Rise In E-Crimes |

Between January and April, Mumbai police have registered 1,760 cyber crime cases, which is 12% more than the offences (1,565) registered during the same period last year. Cyber criminals are using unique ways and methods to trap unsuspecting targets. In recent times, the most preferred modus operandi used by digital outlaws is fleecing the victims on several pretexts like lucrative returns on investment in stock trading, exciting task-based earning opportunities, courier fraud by impersonating police. One of the concerning methods used by fraudsters is making the aggrieved slyly download remote access apps on phones. The software helps cons to spy on the victim's data and use privy details to siphon money with a simple click.

As per the statistics, 1,074 cases related to online cheating were registered between January and April. Police have classified online cheating cases in 11 categories. Of 1074 offences, maximum frauds were related to investment (266), followed by job (188), fake website (36), online purchase (35), customs / gift (32), loan (25), cryptocurrency (13), insurance / provident fund (3), matrimonial (3) and online admission fraud (2). Of total cases, the police have detected 190 of them, resulting in arrests of 231 'cons'. A closer analysis of statistics revealed that cases related to phishing/man in the middle attack/ spoofing mail and communal posts have shown an increasing trend as compared to the cases registered last year. Offences pertaining to obscene email/SMS/MMS, fake social media profile/morphing email/SMS, hacking, purchase fraud, insurance/ provident fund fraud, matrimonial fraud, data theft and sextortion are also on the rise.

Explaining in detail about trending frauds, the cops said that in a stock trading scam, the fraudsters first post their 'investment' schemes on social media platforms and induce the target to join WhatsApp groups on the pretext of providing trading tips. In the next step, victims are asked to download a trading application on their phones to make 'investments' and buy shares of various companies. The aggrieved continue to believe the bluff as their 'earnings' are reflected in the trading app. The rug is finally pulled under their feet when they try to withdraw their 'earnings' and the cheaters ask them to pay a whopping amount.

Talking about the courier fraud, police said that it begins with fraudsters calling the target, saying a suspicious parcel has been detected in the person's name. What makes the scam more scary is that the cons impersonate cops and fleece the target with the threat of police action. A group of scammers work in tandem, while perfectly playing the roles of courier company executive and high-ranking police officials. They brazenly make video calls to the victim and instruct the person to send money for 'verification' purposes or to avoid legal trouble. At times, the fraudsters lure the users to download remote access apps on some pretext. Once the app gets installed, the cons get access to the victim's device, allowing them to perform the unauthorised transactions to siphon money from digital wallet or from bank accounts of the target.

Trending cyber crimes

Loan Fraud

Loan app fraud through fake Chinese applications are the ones wherein callers are offered loans at low interest. Cyber fraudsters blackmail victims by sending obscene pictures to their families, forcing them to download their mobile apps. In this manner, they gain access to the photo gallery and documents of the target, which are used for blackmail and extortion.

Cryptocurrency fraud

As there is a craze for investing in crypto, digital outlaws are making the most of the rage. In this scam, cons ask the target to send money or make payments in cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc)

Credit/debit card online fraud

Cyber criminals send an email from a fake account, which appears to be from the target's bank or credit card service provider. When one clicks on the malicious link, it takes the person to a page where sensitive information like bank account details, card details, card verification value, expiry date, etc, is asked. Once these details are shared, the person's account can be compromised.

Fake social media profile

Creating fake profiles is a cyber offence wherein the culprit creates profiles with the name and identity of the target. The cons may also enlist the help of bots (automatic computer programs) to create a fake profile with randomly selected photographs and details. The culprit may operate with a fake profile to spread false information to damage the reputation of the victim. To make matters worse, scammers may also send/ add friend requests to friends of the victim. A fake social media profile created in anyone's name can severely damage their public reputation, leaving them with no option, but to give in to the demands of fraudsters.

Also, any communication made by the culprit to the friends and family of the actual account holder through this fake account can make them vulnerable to attacks like phishing, financial scams, etc. Scammers can easily trick the near and dear ones of the victims on myriad pretexts, one of them being a health emergency, to fleece them or extract their information.

Sextortion

As the name suggests, sextortion is a practice of extorting money or sexual favours from someone by threatening to reveal evidence of the target's sexual activity. Perpetrators gain confidence of the victim first and then trap them with the lure of nude video chats/calls. Once the victim falls prey to the trick, fraudsters mirror some obscene content during such calls and record the same. The victim is then blackmailed by perpetrators, who either demand money or sexual favours.  

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