Fraud Alert: Cyber Criminals Impersonating Law Enforcement Agency Officials


Fraud Alert: Cyber Criminals Impersonating Law Enforcement Agency Officials

Beware of Calls by impersonated CBI or Police Officers Targeting Parents on WhatsApp

 
Beware of Cyber Crime Cyber Fraud by persons impersonating as Police Officials and CBI Officials and Calling Unaware Parents on WhatsApp
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The National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (NCRP) has issued an alert about increasing incidents of blackmail and "Digital Arrests" by fraudsters impersonating officials from various law enforcement agencies, including the CBI, RBI, and Police Departments.

Cybercrime has become a significant threat in today's technology-driven world. Fraudsters often pose as officials from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Narcotics Department, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and other agencies to intimidate and extort money from unsuspecting victims.

Common Tactics of Cyber Criminals

These criminals typically call victims and inform them about involvement in major criminal activities like drug trafficking or money laundering. The victims are often told they have sent or received illegal goods or that a relative is in custody. The fraudsters demand money to "compromise" the case.

In many cases, victims are coerced into "Digital Arrests," where they remain visually available over platforms like Skype until their demands are met. The fraudsters use elaborate setups, including studios modeled on police stations and uniforms, to appear genuine.

Recent Incidents in Udaipur and Kolkata

Recently, two incidents in Udaipur involved fraudsters posing as CBI officials and claiming that the victims' sons were involved in drug cases. One victim said that the call by the fraudster posing as a CBI official was calling from different numbers. 

According to a report by The Times of India on April 11, 2024, a new scam is targeting parents. Fraudsters, pretending to be CBI officials, contact parents on WhatsApp and extort money by claiming that their children are involved in criminal activities. They use WhatsApp because its end-to-end encryption ensures that only the caller and receiver can see the conversation.

Kolkata Woman Duped 

In Kolkata also a woman was duped by fake Delhi CBI officers who extorted Rs 51,000/- from her under the pretence of verifying her bank accounts. The woman was told by the fake Delhi Police Officer that there are 35 bank accounts in her name and they are being used to send money to criminals.

Fraud in Visakhapatnam

A retired senior executive in Visakhapatnam was coerced into paying Rs 85 lakh by a gang posing as various CBI, customs, narcotics, and income-tax officers over Skype. The money was transferred to multiple accounts across India. The case has been filed with the police in Visakhapatnam and Delhi. 

Fraud with Mumbai’s Youth

On May 15, 2024, a youth was duped of Rs 10 lakh by fraudsters posing as CBI officials. The fraudster claimed that the victim is involved in a money laundering case. The youth is a Borivali resident. 

Nationwide Impact and Government Response

Across the country, several victims have lost large sums to these organized crime syndicates. The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), under the Ministry of Home Affairs, is actively combating these frauds. I4C collaborates with other ministries, RBI, and agencies to counter these crimes.

I4C has blocked over 1,000 Skype IDs involved in these activities in collaboration with Microsoft and is also facilitating the blocking of SIM cards, mobile devices, and mule accounts used by fraudsters. Alerts and awareness campaigns are regularly issued through their social media platform ‘Cyberdost’ on X, Facebook, Instagram, and others.

What to Do if You Receive Such Calls?

If you receive a suspicious call, do not panic. Immediately report the incident to the cybercrime number 1930 or visit https://www.cybercrime.gov.in/. Stay alert and informed to protect yourself from these scams.

Sources:

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