CHANDIGARH: Fraudsters have created fake WhatsApp and social media accounts of more than 100 top police and administrative officials in Punjab, including the DGP and the Chief Secretary, to solicit gift cards and financial favours. The Cyber Crime Cell of the Punjab Police has warned citizens to be wary of messages requesting financial or administrative favours.
RK Jaiswal, Inspector General of Police (Cyber Crime), stated that there were two such incidents in which cybercriminals cheated citizens by impersonating their identities.
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In less than a month, people impersonated VVIPs and attempted to swindle unsuspecting people. According to Jaiswal, the cyber cell has registered two cases under various sections of the IPC and the IT Act on April 26 and May 19, with attempts underway to apprehend the perpetrators.
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Jaiswal cautioned individuals not to contact important persons based on photographs or names provided on WhatsApp or other social media platforms. He warned people to be wary of dubious websites. “Fraudsters employ suspicious websites (torrent and short-end URLs) that might host dangerous scripts on cellphones,” he warned, urging people not to provide sensitive information such as OTP, bank account and credit/debit card details, and social security numbers.
Nilambari Jagdale, DIG State Cyber Crime, stated that unscrupulous elements use various hi-tech techniques to gain unlawful access to the mobile phones of unwary and naive individuals. “Thereafter, the accused pose as senior officers and dignitaries and demand money favours in the form of Amazon gift cards.” They also act out a medical emergency,” she added.
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Further research will be technical in nature. To find the offenders, cybercrime specialists have been gathering information and connecting the dots.
Meanwhile, cybercrime events were reported in 2020-21. The state cybercrime cell, then had huge success by breaking the nexus and apprehending key suspects from around the country.
Some government employees received messages from WhatsApp numbers that displayed officials’ profiles, and photos, despite the phone numbers being different. The situation was brought to light when one of the employees alerted his superiors that he suspected fraud.
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