In this digital era everyone is leaning on the Internet. Delivery mechanism of public services is fast pushed to electronic way. This has made people to take to Internet, to avail e-services, and also gives them opportunity to browse the world of world wide web. The growing online world has opened up opportunities to make money as well as dangers to lose money.
Opportunities made available on the Internet to earn money are mostly turning out frauds. Criminals too have taken to electronic mode to commit frauds, especially the financial frauds. Now Internet (Cyber) frauds are growing very fast. Though surveillance by cyber policing has picked up, the fraudsters have become innovative in committing online frauds and remain unidentified.
We are living in the world of Internet crimes now. The Cyber criminals remain unidentified, that is, they are faceless and also from unknown destination. Though their location can be traced, yet the law most of the times fails to nab them. The Internet Crime Report for 2019, released by USA’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has revealed that India stands third in the world among top 20 countries that are victims of internet crimes. As per the report, excluding the USA, the UK tops the list. The report points out that the year 2019 did not see an increase in new kinds of frauds, but saw criminals deploying new tactics and techniques to carry out the existing scams.
Fraudsters use Online Apps to attract young ones to make money. Once people make investments through these Apps, after some time they lose connection to the App and finally their money is lost.
Recently, a couple of Online Apps, “Shoppers App” and “Rakuten Shop”, were very popular on social media platform among young ones in Kashmir. The Apps promised hefty profits on investments which normally is not possible to earn. Scores of young boys got themselves registered with the Apps and invested money. But after some time, they finally learned that the Apps were fraud and they were duped. Apart from losing money, their personal data is at risk. The App had asked for all their personal details while registering on the App.
These Apps are no more now available on the social network sites and are not traceable. This has left these young investors high and dry. A friend who is among the victims of the fraud said that he was first asked to register himself for the App and later made to punch personal details thoroughly, which he did. After getting himself registered, he started investing small amounts and the Apps in order to earn the confidence of the user, returned the money to the registered investors along with profits for nearly a month or so. However, they found the Apps through which they used to invest and keep track of their money, non-functional, showing errors. This shocked them.
A media report said that hundreds of Kashmiri young boys lost lakhs of rupees in this online fraud. Since the fraudsters are unidentified, it is almost impossible to get the money back.
We find fraudsters also using OLX to fraud people. They post sale of products on social media sites and on other websites at low prices to attract buyers. But at the end the buyer is duped of his money without getting a product.
While scrolling through a social media site, something like “Do you want to double your money in 1 day” or similar offerings catching the eyes is common. Such type of offers are without any doubt a gateway to the world of frauds and unfortunately, these scams are much focused on smaller investors.
Pertinently youth is falling prey to some websites which offer ‘earning money online while sitting at home’. These fraudulent websites asks to recharge account to a registered person to earn more money. They have many options in recharging, like if you recharge your account with Rs 10000 you can grab Rs 800 per day. After some time the investors is asked to get 10-20 more investors in the chain by using a given link. If the investor fails to get more people on board, the website stops functioning, leaving the investor in lurch. There are many who have already been defrauded though these offers.
The bad thing is that those who have lost their money through these fraud Apps and websites remain dumb. They feel shy to share their plight and even don’t speak about it to police. The best thing to save yourself from these frauds is to avoid quick response to such offers of earning money in quick manner. Check authenticity of these Apps and websites. Even sharing your personal details to a fraud App and website can prove harmful and can be used to commit fraud by the cyber criminals.
Government needs to come forward to have a check on these fake Apps and websites and should continuously make people aware about online scams.
(Jazim Bazaz is student of Kashmir Government Polytechnic College, Srinagar)