All over the world, SMS phishing attacks, now called 'smishing' are on the rise. While SMSs claiming to originate with a bank are the most tried and tested ploy of fraudsters in India, they are also using such expressions as 'Fedex package delivered' or 'Thank you for paying your bill, here is a free gift for you'—to lure unsuspecting people. We will also see, how a knowledgeable person can be persuaded to transfer money to an unknown person and get duped.
Previous week we read
about how people, particularly senior citizens, are being targeted and lured into clicking links received in an SMS, which in fact is a trap laid by fraudsters. Well, this con game is not confined to India. ‘Smishing’ is fast becoming a smash hit among fraudsters across the world.
Take a look at some frauds reported this week:
Smishing Fraud Continues
One Micky Kashyap posted a message on Twitter saying, "I keep getting these scam massages somehow. Tried to mark spam on messages but did not work because it always comes from a new number, even though I never played rummy or anything."
The SMSs he is talking about are known as click baits. In this type of scam, the fraudsters try to lure users into clicking the link in the SMS under the pretext of verifying the identity of a beneficiary of lottery money or other such bonanza. Micky was promised Rs2,000 bonus in his rummy account, provided he clicked on the link. Further, these SMSs are sent from different numbers. This makes it difficult for anyone to block numbers of fraudsters.
I still keep wondering how these mobile numbers are even allotted. If you and I want a mobile number, the telcos would make us dance over the know-your-customer (KYC) norms. How is it then that these fraudsters are able to obtain so many numbers? Also, once used, they throw away the SIMs and use new ones. Is the telecom regulator keeping an eye on these bulk SIM purchases? I doubt.
IAF Wing Commander Duped of Rs50,000 in Rental Fraud
A wing commander with the Indian Air Force (IAF), inspite being well-educated and probably aware about cheating and frauds, sent Rs25,000 twice to a fraudster just because he wanted to rent out her father’s flat! I mean, whatever the fraudster may be saying with his sweet tounge, how can anyone send as much as Rs25,000 twice to any unknown person?
The Times of India
reports the wing commander lost Rs50,000 after she recently posted an advertisement on a property website to rent her father's flat in New Delhi's Dwarka locality.
Posing as Subedar Randeep Singh from the Indian Army, the fraudster called her to ask for the flat on rent and agreed to pay Rs12,500 per month rental. He also agreed to pay two months' rent in advance and asked the wing commander to transfer Re1 to his wallet. Once she did that, he transferred Rs2 back. However, he then said that he could not transfer Rs25,000 and asked the lady officer to transfer the same amount to him, after which he would transfer Rs50,000 back to her, which would include her Rs25,000. After she did that, he claimed that he did not receive the money, and requested her to again transfer Rs25,000.
After sending Rs25,000 twice, the lady officer realised that she has been duped and then filed a complaint to her nearest police station, the report says.
Greed is certainly a very bad thing as the wing commander would have realised after losing Rs50,000.
Most important lesson from this is never-ever send money through wallet to any unknown person or share your wallet details so that he/she can send you money.
Cyber Criminals Targeting Janata Darbar Complainants in Bihar
Cyber fraudsters are now targeting complainants at the Bihar chief minister (CM)'s Janata Darbars. The conmen are using mimicry artists to impersonate CM Nitish Kumar’s voice to demand money from the complainants as a prerequisite to address their grievances.
One Mintu Upadhyay from Muzaffarpur filed a complaint at the district magistrate (DM)'s office about the demands being made. He says, "I filed an online application for hearing in the Janata Darbar on 8 April 2022. I have not received any calls from the Janata Darbar but I received two calls from fraudsters. The first call was received on 14th April and the second one on 4 May 2022. On both occasions, the caller’s voice appeared to be that of of CM Nitish Kumar and he asked for Rs5,500 be deposited in an account as registration fee for the issue to be addressed in 10 days."
There is, in fact, no fee for registration or for hearing of complaints in the CM's Janata Darbar in Bihar. What is not known is, how the callers came to know about the complaint filed by Mr Upadhyay and how they obtained his mobile number. The DM's office has forwarded the case to the cybercell for investigation.
YouTuber, Father Held for Cheating Woman for Rs35.15 Lakh in Delhi
The crime branch of Delhi police arrested a YouTuber who runs the YouTube channel 'ggg productions' and his father for allegedly cheating a businesswoman of Rs35.15 lakh on the pretext of helping her get an allotment of a petrol pump. In her complaint, the lady says both of them flaunted their high-profile connections and induced her to pay them Rs35.15 lakh for the allotment of an IOCL petrol pump and for the acquisition of land for the same purpose from the Delhi Waqf Board.
The truth is that in India, petrol pumps are allotted by oil marketing companies (OMCs) and they all follow a stipulated process. This includes newspaper advertisements or publishing information on the OMC websites. No private individual is authorised to offer such an allotment of a petrol pump, so anybody receiving such a call must necessarily see it as a trap and must must hold on tight to one’s wallet.
Years ago, there was a similar scam (which keeps recurring after a few months, though) about establishing a telecom tower on a plot of land. The fraudsters in these cases promise to pay lakhs of rupees per month as rental for the telecom tower. However, before that, they ask for money for initial expenses and to purportedly expedite the process of the allocation of the telecom tower.
It is noteworthy that most of the telecom companies have outsourced the job of setting up telecom towers to other companies. So beware of anyone promising you rent in lakhs of rupees for a telecom tower and in case you have already paid the money, you must file a complaint in the nearest police station against the person/s without any delay.
Lady Police Officer Arrests Own Fiancé on Fraud Charges
Junmoni Rabha, a sub-inspector in the Nagaon district of Assam demonstrated the true spirit of law when she filed a first information report (FIR) and arrested her fiancé for impersonating and cheating people of lakhs of rupees.
Ms Rabha found that her fiancé Rana Pogag had been falsely claiming to be a public relations officer (PRO) of the Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and had allegedly duped many people of lakhs of rupees by promising to get them jobs in the company.
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