TS Cyber Security Bureau Director M Stephen Raveendra.
In a worrying trend, Cyber fraudsters have started reaching out to gullible people impersonating IPS officers, Mumbai Police, and Delhi Police and looting money from them in huge sums, putting them in fear of pending money laundering and drug trafficking cases against them. The fraudsters are found to be using deep fake techniques using AI and the IPS officers’ videos while speaking to the victims on Skype and extorting money.
The Cybercrime wing of the Cyberabad commissionerate has been informed of tens of such cases in which massive looted amounts have been reported. A university professor, a techie, and a BPO employee are among several such victims who fell prey to their intimidating tactics.
TS Cyber Security Bureau Director M Stephen Raveendra said that any such suspicious calls, links, mobile numbers, with lucrative offers, suspicious content, or demanding money under some pretext could be reported to the 1930 toll-free number of Cyber Security Bureau’s WhatsApp number on 8712672222. “Even if there is no loss of money, the bureau will block these link numbers and take them down. A cyber frauds registry will have all such numbers and links maintained by the bureau to prevent others from falling into a trap with the same numbers and links,” he said.
In one of the cases, the victim first got a call claiming to be from a Mumbai-based courier agency, informing that he had booked a parcel containing a wallet made of tiger skin, and it had been flagged. When the victim said he was staying in Hyderabad and had no connection with the parcel, the caller said it had to be reported to the cybercrime police.
Further, the caller connected the victim to another person over the phone, who claimed to be an official with the Mumbai Cyber Crime Branch. Later, the victim was forced to switch on to a Skype call, where an ‘IPS officer’ spoke to him and informed the victim that his name matched the records in a money laundering case in which Rs 2 Cr had been transferred abroad from his account in a bank in Mumbai. When the victim denied having any account in Mumbai banks, the caller shared a website saying it was a supreme court website and case details. On searching in the link, the victim was shocked to see a warrant pending against him, and he had to pay some amount to stay the warrant. Further, he was asked to pay a security deposit as well.
In another similar incident, a techie was duped under the pretext of a parcel having drugs registered by him and was looted. In all these cases, the victims are threatened to be on the Skype call for hours together under the pretext of interrogation. During the call, the victims are asked for their family and bank account details, and they are verified with pending money laundering and drug trafficking cases and then forced to pay money.