Rising number of commoners falling prey to fraud calls

ST Correspondent
Friday, 15 June 2018

Asim Sarode said, “There can be many possibilities for why the fraudsters are interested to collect identification data of a person. It includes identity theft, bank balance theft, virus infections, loss of personal data and many more."

PUNE: Yet after repeated reports of cybercrime cases, many citizens seem to fall in the trap of fraud calls. Often customers of companies like network service providers, bank, etc receive calls demanding their personal details such as unique identification number, debit card details etc. Not aware of the authenticity of the call, they provide the demanded information to the caller leading to a potential cybercrime. 

The messages that claim to come from a legitimate source which can be a well-known company, often demands unique identification numbers and personal details and state that if failed to provide the information their connection will be discontinued.  Experts have claimed this as lack of awareness among people regarding fraud cases. 

Asim Sarode, a senior lawyer, said, “There can be many possibilities for why the fraudsters are interested to collect identification data of a person. It includes identity theft, bank balance theft, virus infections, loss of personal data and many more. Suppose, if a person with wrong intentions has an Aadhaar number of another person, it can fetch all the details like bank balance and will also be able to make fake and duplicates by using iris, fingerprint details and many more.” 

Manisha Zende, Police Inspector, cybercrime department, said, “The number of applications for fraud cases like OTP share, emails, calls etc., has been increasing from the past two years. In 2016, we filled 2,079 applications under such crime heads, in 2017 it increased to 5,741 and in the present year, till May 2,321 applications have already been registered.” 

Puneet Gupta, Regional Manager of Airtel Corporate, said, “These cases appear to be fraudulent activities undertaken by elements impersonating as representatives of telecom service providers. Airtel never makes phone calls for SIM upgradation process and always requests customers to visit our stores for the same. We have been and continue to extend our full cooperation with the investigation agencies as for resolution of these cases. We constantly urge our customers not to share any personal information whatsoever to any unauthorised source or for any service request not initiated by customers themselves.” 

He further added, “We would like to issue a general advisory to caution Indian telecom customers who are being arbitrarily targeted by calls fraudulently claiming the recipient customer as being a prize/lottery winner. In these types of phone frauds, the customer returns a missed call to a +92 or +375 country code and inadvertently reaches a fraudster pretending to be representative of Airtel or any other Indian mobile operator and informs the customer of having won some lottery/prize money. 

The fraudsters then attempt to trick the customer into divulging sensitive personal information and to pay a commission to receive the winnings. Such commission is usually asked to be paid via an international DTH operator’s recharge vouchers.”

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