Abhijith N Kolpe
Pics: Daya Kukkaje
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru
Mangaluru Aug 10: While Dakshina Kannada district is known for its well-educated people, it is unbelievably true that they are also often victims of online and social media frauds.
The issue which has become rampant in the district, especially Mangaluru, has put the city cyber crime police on their toes. The cyber police have launched operations to locate fraudsters who have duped people of lacs of Rupees.
Nearly 38 online fraud cases have been reported so far in the year 2018 and it is estimated that around 200 cases go unreported due to fear of losing respect.
The internet is constantly evolving and this means that the fraudsters and cyber criminals are constantly on lookout for people whom they can easily cheat. Cyber offences are of different types such as credit card, debit card offences, gift frauds popularly known as Nigerian frauds, job frauds and many more.
Speaking to Daijiworld, Mangaluru City Cyber Crime Inspector Savitra Tej explained that the cyber crime police station was opened in the city in 2017. “The cyber offences are on the rise in the city. The accused are mainly from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and North Eastern states. Whenever the fraudster calls, he introduces himself as a bank employee or manager and takes the victim into confidence. Fraudsters do thorough research about the victim before duping him. Fraudsters converse in Hindi and take confidence of the victim in such a way that the victim ends up sharing all personal and bank details. The victim is conned easily,” Tej said.
He also said, matrimonial frauds are also reported in the city, where a fraudster connects with people who have uploaded their profile on matrimonial sites, with an intention to cheat them. After a month long chat, the fraudster who poses as a prospective groom, promises to send a gift from abroad and ends up demanding money for its clearance at the airport.
“Students are victims of job frauds and online trading frauds. Usually a fresh pass out uploads his resume in job sites seeking for job. Immediately the fraudster calls the applicant and appreciates his/her resume and demands money as deposit. This makes the victim confident. The fraudster also takes interview through phone and tells the victim that he/she has been selected for the job and demands more money and makes the victim send his documents, personal details. Students are easily trapped by these fraudsters,” he informed.
Fraudsters call during weekends
"Fraudsters usually prefer weekends to call the victims because of bank holidays. They update their number in true caller in such a way that true caller shows that you are receiving a call from the bank.” Tej said.
Public need to be alert
“People need to be alert when they receive such calls. They should not share personal details, be it your bank account number, PIN number or OTP number. People need to be careful. Usually the caller introduces himself in one name and his bank account is in another name and also in other state,” he added.
“The fraud occurs because of the victim's fault and also due to greed. People need to maintain their privacy even in social media as sharing photo information will make it easier for the fraudster to hack the information. Many fraudsters target divorced women, men as they feel they are easy targets,” he said.
Role of banks
“When such offences take place, banks should take up initiative in creating awareness programmes among public regarding credit card, debit card and gift frauds. Banks also shoulder equal responsibility to bring to control such offences by creating awareness programmes and distribute proper guidelines,” Savitra Tej said.
Need to share with parents and friends
“When a victim receives a call claiming that he\she has won gifts, one needs to share the information with friends or family members. Keeping this information to oneself is the biggest mistake a victim does. When you receive such calls either clarify with the banks or inform your close ones to avoid such incidents,” Tej stressed.
Cyber crime police stations should be interconnected
Officials in top positions should take concrete measures in interconnecting cyber crime police stations all over India. This will make it much easier in tracing out the culprits behind the offences.
Daijiworld team met the victims of credit card fraud, gift fraud, online trading fraud who shared their agony.
Speaking to Daijiworld a victim said," I received a call from a man who claimed to be SBI’s bank manager and he was conversing in Hindi. He wanted to check if my Aadhar card was linked with bank account. He called me on a Sunday, and said that he was working on Sunday to update the customer database. He mentioned my ATM card number. He asked me to cross check the same. At that point, I felt confident that he was an employee of the bank. I have different OTPs and he asked me to repeat the same. He withdrew money five times from my account and I was cheated of Rs 60,000,”
Another victim said, "I was in need of a housing loan as my house was under construction, so I had approached the bank. Very next day I got a call from a person who claimed to be the bank’s employee and he asked me for my credit card number and password. Rs 7,900 was withdrawn from my account in Kerala. As technology is advanced, even frauds have increasing and there is misuse of technology. No bank manager will call you asking for personal details. Public need to be alert when they receive such calls,”
A young guy who was victim of online trading site said, "There was car sale for Rs 3 lac in an online trading site. I called the concerned person. He said that car is at the airport and demanded Rs 48,500 as parking and maintenance charge, after which the car’s gate pass would be given. As soon as I paid the amount through net pay, the concerned person's mobile went switched off,”
A lady who was victim of gift fraud said," I received a call that said I was a winner of Rs 50 lac prize money and I denied to take it. But they frequently called and forced me to take the prize money. They had sent me photos of bank cheque of Rs 50 lac and bank statement which looked original that made me believe. They asked me to pay Rs 3000 as charges and went on demanding more and more. I went on paying in instalments and I ended up losing almost Rs 2 lac,”
Another victim of Facebook fraud said, "We were looking for a house. A person through Facebook contacted me and said that he would help us financially. He said that the help he sent to us had some problems in the customs. In order to clear the same, he demanded money and we ended up losing lacs,”