PUNE: Cybercriminals have targeted a Pune-based businessman and a retired Army colonel in a pair of alarming incidents, leaving them with hefty financial losses. These two cases of online heists have sent shockwaves through the city, highlighting the need for increased cybersecurity awareness.
Two Victims, Two Separate Heists
The cybercrime police station of Pune city has been hard at work investigating two separate cases of online heists that have left a businessman and a retired colonel in distress. The businessman, aged 45, who runs an electric and home appliances trading business, incurred a massive loss of Rs 95 lakh, while the retired colonel, aged 72, found himself cheated out of Rs 6.5 lakh.
FIRs Registered Last Week
The victims wasted no time and filed First Information Reports (FIRs) at the cybercrime police station last week. The businessman’s complaint revealed a staggering loss of Rs 95 lakh, which occurred over a total of 157 unauthorized transactions. On the other hand, the retired colonel, a 72-year-old army veteran, was defrauded in 23 transactions, losing Rs 6.5 lakh.
Businessman’s Nightmare Unfolds
The businessman, who had been facing difficulties in conducting online transactions since September 17, was alarmed when he discovered that one of his accounts held a mere Rs 500, instead of the expected Rs 17 to 18 lakh on October 1. Upon contacting his banks, which included one public sector bank and a cooperative bank, he was shocked to learn that a staggering Rs 95.8 lakh had been siphoned off during the fraudulent transactions.
Retired Colonel’s Loss
In the retired colonel’s case, his ordeal spanned from July 3 to July 17, resulting in a loss of Rs 6.5 lakh. According to a senior officer from the cybercrime cell, these incidents appeared to be classic cases of bank account hacking. Disturbingly, the retired officer received no alerts for these transactions, even though his phone number was linked to the jointly held bank account.
Cybercrime Cell Launches Investigation
Both cases have sparked a comprehensive investigation, with the cybercrime cell leaving no stone unturned in their quest to bring the cybercriminals to justice. A significant hurdle that victims face is the sudden lack of notifications for these fraudulent transactions. Hackers, once they gain unauthorized access, typically change the account holder’s contact information, such as the registered phone number or email address. Consequently, legitimate account holders cease to receive any alerts.
Sophisticated Hacking Techniques
Furthermore, cybercriminals employ increasingly sophisticated techniques to bypass or delay notifications in an effort to evade detection. They manipulate or intercept messages sent by the bank, or employ other methods to hide their illicit activities, further complicating the investigation.
Preventative Measures and Reporting
To avoid falling victim to online financial fraud, officials recommend adhering to basic cyber hygiene norms. These include refraining from clicking on unknown links, downloading attachments from unverified sources, and installing applications from sources not deemed trustworthy. Additionally, it’s vital to avoid disclosing sensitive personal information on unsecured web pages and platforms or sharing it with unauthorized callers. Suspicious calls should be reported to the police immediately.
Seeking Help After Realizing Fraud
If individuals suspect they have been defrauded, it is crucial to act swiftly. The cybercrime cell in their respective area should be approached, or individuals can contact the state-level or national cybercrime helplines or portals. Timing is crucial, as reaching out to the police within 24 hours, often referred to as the “golden hours,” can expedite the process of freezing fraudulent accounts and recovering lost funds.
These unfortunate incidents serve as a stark reminder of the importance of cybersecurity vigilance in an increasingly digital world. As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, it’s up to individuals and authorities to stay one step ahead to protect themselves and their financial assets.
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