Recently, an Andheri-based businessman who was trying to pay his daughter’s college fees ended up crying foul, after allegedly being duped by a cyber fraudster to the tune of ₹3.1 lakh. The father was asked to update the form by entering his credit card details to make a payment, only to change the registered email address and phone number and make a series of transactions. The complainant was unable to complete the transaction and downloaded an application from a local search engine, which asked him to fill out relevant credit card details and received a one-time password.
The 52-year-old complainant then entered the OTP as well, which resulted in his email address and registered mobile number getting changed. A day later, when he tried contacting the customer care number of the private bank, he learnt about the change and about four transactions amounting to ₹3,11,433, made by an unknown person on his credit card.
Given the rising number of such phishing incidents, Maharashtra Cyber has issued an advisory amid festive shopping, when bargains and offers are rife, asking netizens to exercise utmost caution during online transactions. Explaining how phishing attacks work, police claimed that fraudsters send out emails with a phishing website link, which redirects the victim to a replica of the original website, wherein the accused gets access to the victim’s user ID and password. When the victim tries logging in to their account, it shows that their credentials are not correct and redirects them to the original website.
According to data revealed by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2020, Mumbai stood third after Bengaluru and Hyderabad, with 1,727 cyber frauds registered last year. These cyber frauds include phishing, banking, online, OTP and other frauds. Meanwhile, Mumbai Police data shows that in the first nine months months, 21 cases of phishing were registered, of which only two were detected, while a total of 424 cases of credit card and cheating frauds were registered in the same period.
Sharing tips on the precautionary measures one can take to avoid falling prey to phishing, police said that the attached phishing links are slightly different from the original website, which people do not notice. Police have also asked users to verify the email/link from the concerned bank through an alternative communication system and report websites that seem suspect.
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