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India’s cybercrime watchdog blocks over 1,000 Skype accounts used for online blackmailing, ET Telecom | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

New Delhi: Over 1,000 Skype IDs run by cross-border cybercriminals engaged in online intimidation, blackmail, extortion and “digital arrests” have been blocked by the government, according to an official statement on Tuesday. Issuing a warning to internet users, Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), set up under the Ministry of Home Affairs for coordination on activities related to combating cybercrime, said a large number of complaints are being reported where criminals posing as officials of regulators and enforcement agencies are indulging in intimidation, blackmail, extortion and “digital arrests”. The agency said a number of victims have have lost large amounts of money to such criminals and urged the citizens to call 1930 or visit for assistance in such cases.

“This is an organised online economic crime and is learnt to be operated by cross-border crime syndicates,” the statement from the Home Ministry said on Tuesday.

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Commonly known as the ‘parcel scam’, the cyber criminals call victims informing about a parcel addressed to them which contains contraband items like illegal goods, drugs, or fake passports, among others.

In other cases, cyber fraudsters call to convey that a near or dear one of the victim has been found to be involved in a crime or an accident and is in their custody.

“A demand for money is made to compromise in the “case”. In certain instances, unsuspecting victims are made to undergo “digital arrest” and remain visually available over Skype or other video conferencing platform to the fraudsters, till their demands are met. The fraudsters are known to use studios modelled on police stations and government offices and wear uniforms to appear genuine,” the statement from I4C said.

The Union Home Ministry is closely working with other Ministries and their agencies, RBI and other organisations to counter these frauds.

“I4C is also providing inputs and technical support to Police Authorities of States/UTs for identifying and investigating the cases. I4C has also blocked more than 1,000 Skype IDs involved in such activities, in collaboration with Microsoft. It is also facilitating blocking of SIM cards, Mobile devices and Mule accounts used by such fraudsters,” it said.

  • Published On May 14, 2024 at 08:30 PM IST

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