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HyderabadThe changing face of cyber fraud

The changing face of cyber fraud

Published: 2nd Dec 2021 7:54 pm

Hyderabad: The image of a betel nut chewing, evil looking character behind those shady calls trying to extract your personal data from you is changing. Two recent raids by the Cyberabad Cybercrime Police have revealed that cyber fraudsters have become as sophisticated, organised and entrepreneurial as any other IT firm.

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From recruiting and training tele-callers for fraud calls and paying good salaries, to operating from well-equipped call centres and using latest software available to spoof phone calls, what the police discovered showed that the conventional image of fraudsters we have could be wrong.

The first instance of this was seen when the Cyberabad Cybercrime police raided a call centre named ‘Dhani Loan Bazaar’ at Noida in Uttar Pradesh and arrested a 14-member gang, including seven women. The prime suspect and organiser Abhishek Mishra is absconding. The call centre was being used to lure people offering loans at low interest rates before cheating them.

Officials said the gang was involved in nine cases in Cyberabad and five cases in other districts in Telangana apart from 13 more cases in different States. Police said Mishra along with two other suspects set up a call centre in a rented house in a residential area in Noida, purchased used mobile phones and laptops, and gathered data of loan applicants.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner M Stephen Raveendra said they used a fake website similar to a popular one and arranged bank accounts on commission basis. To get tele-callers, they conducted formal interviews, recruited youngsters and trained them how to speak with victim-callers.

They convinced victims using loan approval and follow-up letters, and after promising personal loans, fleeced the victim in the name of other charges.

The second raid was on another call centre, also fake, operating from Uttam Nagar in Delhi, after which 14 persons including a woman tele-caller were arrested. They used call spoofing applications to call people claiming to be executives of a popular nationalised bank and cheated them. They were involved in 14 cases in Cyberabad and 195 cases across India, police said.

The gang, some of them with experience of working in banks, fraudulently collected details of credit card holders, with Nikhil Madan, the kingpin, establishing the call centre and buying reseller IDs of spoofing applications. They also purchased reseller accounts in dialer applications and developed fake sites, from where user IDs for spoofing applications were available on payment.

“They used these applications to generate calls, which appeared as if they were from the real customer care number and contacted credit card holders posing as customer care executives,” the Commissioner said.

Police Advisory:

  • Do not believe calls claiming to be from banks; banks do not take data over calls
  • Do not share OTP, PAN card, credit/debit card details to anyone
  • Change PIN soon after receiving new credit or debit card
  • Do not respond to calls offering loans
  • Report suspicious calls on Dial 100
  • Report frauds on National Cybercrime Portal/Call 155260
  • Call Cyberabad Cybercrime Cell on WhatsApp: 949617310

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