3 losses over Rs. 5L in WhatsApp call scam : The Tribune India



Tribune press service

Avneet Kaur

Jalandhar, April 16

As people seem to have become aware of online banking, shopping and KBC lottery fraud, cybercriminals have now started to find new ways to trick you into sharing your money. The latest scam doing the rounds is the “WhatsApp Call” fraud.

Operating mode

  • The scam usually involves a WhatsApp call, but sometimes a message, from someone claiming to be a family member or friend from abroad in need of help
  • The goal is to encourage recipients to transfer money
  • Usually perpetrators claim they are in a hurry, most often to get their victims to act immediately.

He already knew my nephew’s name and other details about him. When I said your voice didn’t match with him, he answered while they were talking after a long time, so I’m not able to recognize his voice. He said he was in trouble. He told me that he had fought with British and was arrested. – A victim

In the past week, five residents based in Jalandhar, Adampur, Hoshiarpur and other districts fell prey to fraud and lost more than Rs 5 lakh. Although they registered the complaints with the Punjab Cyber ​​Cell by calling the helpline number 1930, they say they have little hope that the scammers are found and they get their money back. hard earned.

Speaking to The Tribune, one of the victims, who asked not to be named, said he received the WhatsApp call from a number in Canada around 4.30pm on April 12. She said the caller, who was fluent in Punjabi, claimed to be her nephew.

“He already knew my nephew’s name and other details about him. When I asked him that your voice didn’t match Love (my nephew), he replied that they were talking after a very long time, so I’m not able to recognize his voice. After talking for a few minutes, it’s come to the point that he’s in trouble. He told me he had a fight with Brits and was arrested,” the victim said.

She added that the boy pretending to be his nephew then asked her to immediately deposit Rs 50,000 into the account number he was sending, so that he could pay the lawyer and be released. “I told him I would talk to his family first, but saying his mum would get sick after hearing he had been arrested, he continued to emotionally deceive me. He even got me to talk to a lawyer, who asked me to deposit the money ASAP if I want to see my nephew safe. I then agreed and deposited Rs 50,000. I got his call again the next day saying he was released but to get his passport and other documents he has to pay Rs 1.3 lakh more, I then filed that too,” she added.

“It was after depositing the amount in his account that I spoke to my relatives and then to Love’s mother, who informed me that nothing like that had happened with him and that he was perfectly fine. It was then that I learned that I had been cheated,” the woman said, adding that the fraudster had taken advantage of her innocence and tricked her out of a total of Rs 1.8 lakh.

In other similar incidents, a resident based in Adampur lost Rs 1.5 lakh, while another resident based in Hoshiarpur lost Rs 2.5 lakh. There were two or three other victims of this fraud, who had lost money to the tune of thousands of dollars, but they denied sharing any details fearing that their identities would be revealed.

Speaking to the Tribune, Palvinder Singh, a cyber expert and founder of Secuneus Technologies based in Jalandhar, who was approached by the victims asking for help in tracking down the fraudsters, said after the phishing, the theft of Identity, spam, malware, ransomware, cyber criminals have now started using social engineering to trick innocent people.

Sharing details about the modus operandi of this scam, Palvinder said that it appears to be professional cyber criminals. Not one, a group of people in India and abroad are working together to scam people. “There also appears to be a data leak, which is why the scammers have contact numbers and details of the people they ask,” he said, adding that more than 100 people had so far received such calls.

Meanwhile, despite repeated attempts, officials from the district’s cyber cell department and Major Sumeer Singh from ACP headquarters could not be contacted.

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