Caution on Mind to Avoid Falling Prey to Cyber Crime


With most of the essential services these days having gone digital, cyber crime is a word we have commonly heard of and we all definitely want to save ourselves from walking unknowingly into traps of cheaters and fraudsters who can swindle away our hard–earned money within seconds or arm-twist us through blackmail.

It is in our hands not to let anybody cheat us by being vigilant whenever we are corresponding on the mobile phone through various apps, on social media, while net banking, etc. You will not even get to know how, when, where you made a mistake while the harm would have been done. So if the mobile has brought all kind of facility in your hands, you need to use it responsibly while handling it.

Cyber Crime

“The cyber criminals play on the psychology of greed and fear of unsuspecting people. They exploit the loopholes in the system to get easy access to lumpsome amounts. On an average, we get about 20-25 complaints per day in Chandigarh alone,” says Ketan Bansal, SP, Operations and Cyber, Chandigarh. Awareness among masses is the key to stopping cyber crime, he warns.

Major frauds in Tricity

  1. Electricity bill fraud

Electricity bill fraud - Cyber Crime

Well-educated sections of the society, like doctors, teachers, retired defence personnel, etc got messages or calls on their mobile  regarding non-payment of the bills, stressing further that if the amount is not paid, their power connection would be disconnected.

Arrests: Total 13 Accused

Modus operandi: Cheaters mentioned their mobile numbers as customer helpline number on fake websites of PSPCL (Punjab State Power Corporation Limited). People visited their website assuming to real website of PSPCL to pay bills, new connection etc. Further they contacted customer care helpline number of PSPCL and got allured by fraud caller to install Remote Access Apps (Any Desk, Quick Support). In this way, they got access to their bank account and made fraudulent transactions from their accounts.

Total Cheated Amount: Rs 3,26,000/- .

2. Sextortion

A video call from an unknown number is given, the moment you pick up the call or talk further, they make your video by screen recording, morph it and use it to extort money from victim.

3. Fake Loan App

Fake Loan App

Arrests : 31 accused (including one Foreign Chinese National) arrested in two cases.

Modus operandi: Persons were working on fake online loan applications like  Hugo Loan, Coin Cash, AA Loan, AK Loan, Win Credit etc. They were using social media applications i.e. Dingtalk, Wechat, GB WhatsApp, SMS Forwarder, AirDroidand for cheating purpose.

Recovery: During investigation, a total amount of Rs 17.31 lakh cheated amount was recovered from the arrested persons. Approx Rs. 60 lakh was held in different bank accounts and 20 bank accounts were freezed. 41 mobile phones, 9 laptops were recovered from the accused.

4. Online Cheating on the pretext of providing Job

Arrests: 04 accused arrested

Modus operandi:  The accused were running a high-tech call centre in Noida, UP, with portable landline phones, wi-fi, desktop in C-59, B- Block, Sector 63, Noida, UP and cheating people all over India through phone calls for providing jobs in banking sectors and other reputed companies.

5. Calling from Canada/Abroad (Impersonation calls) –

Arrests: 07 accused arrested in 02 cases

Modus operandi: In these cases, the fraudsters call/message people especially of Punjab through WhatsApp. You receive a call from a foreign or a virtual number where the caller will impersonate a friend/ known to your family member living in Canada or Australia. The caller reveals the reason of urgency/emergency and request for money. He will tell you that he/she has met with an accident, the caller has taken him to hospital,  will send a forged receipt of medical expenses and ask you to deposit money in his account as soon as possible. Hassled relatives fall prey and transfer the money in given account.

6. QR code scam

QR code scam - Cyber Crime

You might get a message to scan your QR code and win money or some other freebies. Remember, when you scan a QR code , money will always get deducted, and not transfered into your account by scanning a QR code

7. Fake customer care numbers

Fraudsters upload their mobile numbers on Google to trap innocent people in the name of providing customer care. 99 percent of the fraudsters operate through this mode.

8. Online Cheating through Paypal App using Bugs

Arrests: Total 05 Accused

Cyber criminals had technical knowledge, they hunted bugs in financial applications available on Play store, I-tune etc. They found bugs in PaulpayV2.0 application and used Burpsuite tool to intercept the data of Paulpay website, due to this interception they were able to stop the signals to cash-free payment gateway and bypass it.  The transactions were successfully made at the server even after cancelling the same from their end. They informed and taught each the method to each other and prepared the ID’s of Paulpay application.

Total Cheated Amount: Approx Rs 2 Cr from application PaulpayV2.0.

Place of origin of cyber crime 

Mewat region at the junction of Rajasthan, Haryana & Uttar Pradesh, and Jamtara region are the hotspots of cyber crime.  However, it s a pan-India crime which can be operated from anywhere, even abroad. “In the home loan app case, a Chinese national was the kingpin,” informed Bansal. “One particular case was traced to Jharkhand where the son of a sarpanch was running a racket, using the swindled money to fund his father’s elections,” he says.

How do cyber criminals reach out to you

Apps, advertisement, social media, phone number, exciting offers/ home loans/ free products without any terms and conditions

Criminals buy virtual phone numbers available easily and cheaply on many app stores

In case you become a victim of cyber crime, what to do

Call 1930 helpline

112 Chandigarh helpline

Immediately call the helpline, share the number you got a call from, this needs to be done with utmost urgency, within 5-10 seconds, which will get your money blocked in whatever account it has reached before it gets transferred further in to multiple accounts or converted to crypto currency

How does police track these cases?

The most important clue is the phone number involved.  “Sometimes we find a particular number with further linkages numbering up from 300 to 3000 sometimes (same phone number involved in 300 or 3000 cases). The swindled amount is immediately transferred into different accounts to hoodwink police, most of the times its difficult to retrieve money,” says Bansal.

The cyber criminals mostly use Twitter, Whats App or other social media platforms which are run by foreign servers, so crucial time is lost in getting information.

How can offices/ organisations maintain cyber security   

Conduct third party cyber audit regularly

Reconciliation of bank statements on day to day basis

Cyber safety tips

 Don’t take any video call/ whats app/from an unknown or strange number

Don’t download any app which you don’t know about

Don’t fall in for freebies, discounts, free products on social media

Don’t call on any customer care service, Always search for customer care number from the official website of the banks/airlines/food or retail outlets/other e-commerce entity and do not fill form provided by the scammers

Don’t  scan any QR code if somebody tells you, it will transfer money into your account

Avoid friendship with unknown people (especially foreigner) on social media platforms.

While registering on matrimonial website ensure that website is genuine. Don’t trust foreigners on matrimonial website

Never install any screen sharing app or remote desktop app in your phone like any-desk, team viewer, VNC connect, quick support etc.

Do not download e-mail attachments received in e-mails from unknown sources it can hack your devices.

Do not trust Job/Visa/Work from home advertisement on Facebook or other social media platform.

Never pay/receive advance money while purchasing and selling second hand goods from Olx, Quiker etc.

While using ATM Machine, hide the ATM keyboard with your hand. Make sure no any person standing behind you. Do not take help from any unknown person in ATM room.

Don’t install unauthorized Instant Loan Apps, such Apps can access your contact details, Gallery data of your phone & other sensitive information. This could result in blackmailing you.

Don’t trust calls disclosing themselves close to relatives residing abroad, specially of Canada or Australia

Don’t trust calls related to electricity bill payment

Turn on 2-step verification/authentication for all social media accounts and for net banking apps/wallets. Select privacy setting as only me/friends on social media accounts.

Whenever you receive any money demand request by your friend from Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram or other social media account, verify the authenticity of the message by calling him/her or meeting the concerned person.

Always remember that Google does not give verified information on searches

Ensure all devices/accounts are protected by a strong PIN (with combination of letters/numbers/alphabet/symbol) or passcodelike St49@&V2. Never share your PIN or password with anyone.

Be careful while sharing identity-proof documents especially if you cannot verify the authenticity of the company/person with whom you are sharing information.

Protect your systems/devices through security software such as Anti-virus with the latest version.

Always turn zero limit of your Debit/Credit Card and increase only when you need to use it.

Dial 1930 and 112  immediately in case of monetary loss due to cyber financial frauds.

Cyber Swachhta Mission

Cyber Swachhta Mission, launched on November 17, 2021, is the community outreach initiative to spread cyber awareness among citizens/senior citizens in Chandigarh. The participation of youth is considered to be of utmost importance, so students from schools and colleges are trained in cyber security and cyber awareness by cyber experts and police officials as part of Internship Programme under the mission.

A Cyber Internship Programme was launched for 6 months in which the students of various colleges/institutes took part. 300 students from Punjab Engineering College (PEC), MCM DAV College, University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) & Punjab University enrolled as Cyber Interns.

Infosys provided intensive 4-month training to the cyber interns covering topics such as cyber security, OSINT, coding, dark web, cyber crime investigation, etc.

So far around 120 schools/ colleges have been covered and more than 100 cyber awareness sessions conducted at public places. Around 1 lakh people (including 40000 students) have been directly covered under these cyber awareness sessions.


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