Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, May 31
Cyber criminals are now targeting the vulnerable segment of the society that is already reeling under financial crisis. They are trying new SMS phishing ideas in the form of Whatsapp links offering part-time jobs.
“Messages with texts like ‘’Spend a few minutes every day. You can earn 30,000 per month. Let us unite and beat the new coronavirus. Long press the message or reply to the number 1 to join us’’ are being circulated on Whatsapp along with a malicious phishing link to dupe innocent people,” said Narvir Singh Rathore, ASP, Cyber Crime.
These fraudsters are running malicious phishing campaigns through Whatsapp API. They redirect victims to fraud numbers for conversation. The criminals leverage people’’s interest in work from home opportunities during the ongoing pandemic, especially at the places where lockdown or curfew is enforced and people are sitting at home,” he said.
“Messages with links is a complete hoax and clicking on the links could lead to revealing bank details and could also log people out from their Whatsapp account. Till now about 10 complaints have been received in this regard,” Rathore said, adding that one such gang is operating from Mewat in Haryana.
Mobile users should avoid clicking on unknown links or instant message platforms, do not install unknown third party mobile app, clarify URLs before submitting information, install antivirus to block installing unknown softwares and follow CyberDost on Twitter or cybercrime.gov.in portal to know more about safety tips, he said.
There is a surge in cyber crime cases which has increased by 640 per cent in five years in Himachal. The number of complaints received in the cyber police station of Shimla has increased from 519 in 2016 to 570 in 2017, 980 in 2018, 1,638 in 2019 and 3,843 in 2020.
Over 700 cyber crime complaints have been received in the past three months.