NEW DELHI: At the time of health emergency being faced due to Omicron a new variant of Coronavirus, cyber criminals are using a variety of strategies to commit cybercrimes in order to take advantage of the fast-changing scenario and scam innocent victims.
The COVID-19 epidemic has posed an unparalleled threat to our life, causing catastrophic economic and societal turmoil. Because of the shift in focus to the health issue, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the situation by inventing new ways to swindle citizens. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an alert warning the citizens about the latest tricks and fraud being done by the cybercriminals on the pretext of Omicron testing.
Explaining the modus-operandi MHA in their advisory said fraudsters send emails regarding PCR Testing for Omicron with the attached malicious links and malicious files. Government and Private Health Services are being mimicked (e.g. their names are used as senders) in such attempts to scam innocent citizens.
Potential victims clicking on the links are pointed towards fake websites created by fraudsters which look similar to government/private health services, where citizens can apply for a “COVID-19 Omicron PCR test”.
The lure of a free Omicron PCR test allowing citizens to avoid Omicron related restrictions imposed by governments is presented to potential victims.
Filling in of personal details is prompted on the website (name, date of birth, home address, mobile number, and email address, mother’s maiden name, etc.), and the process of registration is completed with a transaction of a small amount as registration fees from victims. The banking details of the victims are captured through such small transactions.
“Cybercriminals attain personal details and banking credentials through this method for committing further cybercrimes such as financial cyber frauds, identity theft, etc,” the advisory said.
TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID SUCH SCAMS
- Scrutinize sender’s details and the email address before clicking on the links. Avoid emails from unknown senders.
- Avoid using unofficial websites of health services and other government/non-governmental services.
- Scrutinize the domain name & URL to check the authenticity of the websites. Avoid webpages with address not beginning with https://.
- Contact the mentioned govt./private health service directly to authenticate an email/message.
- Report any such incidents on the cybercrime.gov.in portal and follow @CyberDost on Twitter to know more about safety tips.
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