Lack of English fluency limits online fraudsters to Hindi belt

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Online fraudsters might have mastered the art of duping people with various new stratagems but their inability to communicate fluently in English has limited their reach to the Hindi-speaking belt. An analysis of complaints received on the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal reveals that the majority of the victims are from Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

On the contrary, when it comes to getting SIM cards to be used in the crime, the fraudsters are getting them from distant places like Assam and Telangana. It was established that the SIM cards are sourced from regions as far-off as Assam’s Barpeta, and also Telangana.

“This is done mostly with the help of long-distance transporters (mostly truck drivers) that are from the Mewat region as well as some distant relatives of these cyber criminals who have settled in those areas,” DCP, Cyber Cell, Anyesh Roy said.

A module recently busted by the Delhi Police with the arrest at least 10 people and apprehension of two juveniles has revealed that the fraudsters use two basic methods to dupe people in the Hindi-speaking belt.

In one, the accused pose as army or paramilitary personnel posting advertisements on popular e-commerce websites for sale of their goods, mostly cars or bikes. They even post photographs of vehicles, mostly taken from the internet, that have either Indian Army or the name of a paramilitary force written on them, with the intent to first win the trust of the victim.

They, then, lure potential buyers to transfer an advance amount into a bank account or an e-Wallet account to seal the deal.

Once this initial amount is paid, they coax the victim to pay more on the pretext of transport and handling charges, GST, etc. Once this is done, they cut all contacts with the victim.

In the second mode, the accused, posing as army or paramilitary personnel, contact the seller of any second-hand goods on e-commerce sites. Once initial contact is established, they tell the seller that they would send the money via a QR code that needs to be scanned. The victim, believing the accused to be a genuine buyer, scans the malicious QR code sent to their mobile and the money, instead of getting credited, gets debited from their account.

With the objective of dismantling the cyber fraud ‘industry’ flourishing in the tri-junction region of Haryana, Rajasthan and UP, the Delhi Police’s Cyber Crime Unit/CyPAD, has started concerted action against its entire ecosystem comprising callers, the ‘money mules’ and the SIM sellers.

Acting on approximately 300 complaints received on National Cybercrime Reporting Portal, action has been initiated against the entire fraud chain comprising of callers impersonating as prospective buyers of second hand goods listed on mobile apps, account holders in whose bank accounts the defrauded money is transferred and SIM sellers who have issued multiple SIM cards on fake and bogus IDs.

Later, raids were conducted in the Mewat region and ten accused persons were arrested.

The Delhi Police has also given people some tips to safeguard themselves from being defrauded.

“Verify credentials of buyer or seller before making or receiving payment… a buyer or seller showing unreasonable hurry or urgency is a likely fraudster. Also don’t click on any link or scan a QR Code.. You may lose money. Try avoiding accepting or making advance payment. It may be a trap to defraud you. Fraudsters use fake identity proof of national institutions to gain confidence and faith. Beware of any such attempt,” the DCP said.