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Road To Trouble: How Scammers Exploit E-Challans To Steal Money And Data



Road To Trouble: How Scammers Exploit E-Challans To Steal Money And Data

NEW DELHI: Cybercriminals have come up with a clever trick to cheat vehicle owners. They are taking advantage of the rising trend of e-challan payments by sending fake messages that look very similar to real challan notifications. These tricky messages contain harmful links that, when clicked, can lead to theft of personal information and money.

The Elaborate Fake E-Challan Scam Unveiled

The modus operandi of this scam involves fraudsters sending text messages to unsuspecting individuals, posing as traffic police officials. These messages inform recipients of alleged traffic violations and instruct them to remit a fine. Accompanying the message is a link, urging recipients to click and pay the fine through an online portal.

Yet, the instant a user falls for the bait and clicks on the link, they are directed to a fraudulent website that mimics the authentic traffic police site. On this counterfeit site, users are prompted to provide their personal and financial information, supposedly for fine payment purposes. In some cases, by clicking on the links, victims unknowingly grant hackers access to their mobile devices, which can result in unauthorized withdrawals from their bank accounts.

Sophisticated Tactics Deployed by Cyber Criminals

Police authorities are sounding the alarm as these scam artists, claiming to be traffic police personnel, meticulously craft and send these deceptive links to vehicle owners’ mobile phones. As individuals proceed to pay their challans using these links and input their bank details, the criminals swiftly hack into their mobile devices and siphon money from their accounts.

Officials from the Cyber Cell of the Delhi Police have revealed that these malefactors concoct the links themselves. Once users click on these links to submit their challan payments and inadvertently divulge their bank details, the criminals gain unauthorized access to their mobile devices and subsequently drain their bank accounts.

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Legal Intimidation Tactic Amplifies Scam Impact

The perpetrators of this scam don’t stop at sending fraudulent links and urging users to pay challans through these links. They escalate their tactics by resorting to legal threats if recipients refuse to comply. Police officials have noted that these fake numbers often masquerade as “City Control Room” or “E-Challan Recovery” on platforms like Truecaller. By manipulating the display names of their phone numbers, these cyber criminals manipulate unsuspecting victims.

Rising Cases of Pending Challans and Safety Precautions

The e-challan scam is casting a shadow on the already burgeoning number of traffic rule violations in Delhi. To tackle these offenders, the traffic police introduced provisions for online challan payments. Despite the option for online payments, reports suggest that approximately one crore (ten million) challans remain unresolved in Delhi alone.

Differentiating Between Authentic and Fraudulent E-Challan Messages

An essential aspect of avoiding falling victim to this scam is distinguishing between genuine and fake e-challan messages. Legitimate messages contain vital vehicle-specific details such as engine and chassis numbers. They also direct users to the official government site: Conversely, fraudulent messages subtly modify the link, eliminating “.gov” to mimic the genuine site: The distinction lies in ensuring the payment link concludes with “” for credibility.

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Advisory issued over rising cases of fake e-challans.

                                                                                   Advisory issued over rising cases of fake e-challans.

Tips for Safeguarding Against E-Challan Scam

  1. Exercise Caution with Links: Refrain from clicking on any links in text messages that catch you off guard. These links could lead to counterfeit websites that mimic official traffic police sites.
  2. Direct Communication: If you receive a traffic violation notice, contact the traffic police department directly before making any payments. Speaking to a traffic police officer ensures the authenticity of the notice.
  3. Guard Personal and Financial Information: Be skeptical of messages requesting personal or financial data. Authentic traffic police officers will never seek such information via phone or text.
  4. Pay Only on Official Sites: When making e-challan payments, use the official website of the traffic police department:

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Expanding Landscape of Cyber Fraud

This fake e-challan scam is just one of the many tactics employed by cyber criminals. Other ploys include posing as electricity bill collectors, lucky draw organizers, KYC updaters, and Aadhaar linking agents. To safeguard against these threats, individuals are urged to adopt a few crucial measures:

  1. Restricted Account Information: Never share account information over the phone.
  2. Guard OTPs: Do not disclose One Time Passwords (OTPs) to unknown individuals.
  3. Verify Official Websites: Only interact with official websites for transactions or inquiries.
  4. Minimize Personal Disclosure: Steer clear of sharing personal information with unfamiliar individuals.

As technology evolves, so do the tactics of cyber criminals. Staying vigilant and adhering to these safety tips can aid in thwarting their malicious efforts and safeguarding personal information and finances.


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