MHA issues alert on blackmail, digital arrests by cyber criminals posing as cops | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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MHA issues alert on blackmail, digital arrests by cyber criminals posing as cops

May 14, 2024 09:37 PM IST

MHA said the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, in collaboration with Microsoft, has already blocked more than 1,000 Skype IDs involved in such activities

The Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Tuesday issued an alert against ‘blackmail’ and ‘digital arrests’ by cyber criminals posing as police officers or representives central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Reserve Bank of India (RBI) etc as part of an organised online economic crime learnt to be operated by cross-border syndicates.

MHA said this is an organized online economic crime and is learnt to be operated by cross-border crime syndicates (Representative Image)
MHA said this is an organized online economic crime and is learnt to be operated by cross-border crime syndicates (Representative Image)

It said the I4C (Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre), in collaboration with Microsoft, has already blocked more than 1,000 Skype IDs involved in such activities and is also facilitating blocking of SIM cards, mobile devices and mule accounts used by the fraudsters.

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A statement issued by the MHA said “I4C has also issued various alerts through infographics and videos on its social media platform ‘cyberdost’ for e.g. X, Facebook, Instagram and others”.

Detailing the modus operandi used by such criminals, the home ministry statement said they “typically call a potential victim and inform that the victim has been sent or is the intended recipient of a parcel, which contains illegal goods, drugs, fake passports or any other contraband item”.

“Sometimes, they also inform 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 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 modeled on Police Stations and Government offices and wear uniforms to appear genuine,” the MHA added.

The ministry highlighted that several victims have lost large amounts of money to such criminals across the country.

“This is an organized online economic crime and is learnt to be operated by cross-border crime syndicates,” the MHA added.

I4C, under the MHA, coordinates activities related to combating cybercrime in the country. Since its inception in 2021, I4C’s Citizen Financial Cyber Fraud Reporting and Management System or CFCFRMS has already intercepted and saved over 600 crore from going into the hands of online scamsters, according to the data obtained by HT.

The CFCFRMS is an online system developed by the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (i4C), which comes under the ministry of home affairs (MHA), for quick reporting of financial cyber frauds and preventing the flow of fraud proceeds across the financial sectors. The system has integrated all states and Union territories’ law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and 243 financial entities (i.e., banks, wallets, payment aggregators, payment gateways, e-commerce platforms etc.) together to work in tandem and take immediate action on the complaints reported on CFCFRMS.

The MHA added on Tuesday that it 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, it added.

“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. I4C has also issued various alerts through infographics and videos on its social media platform ‘Cyberdost’ for e.g. X, Facebook, Instagram and others,” the ministry said.

It advised citizens to be alert and spread awareness about these types of frauds.

On receipt of such calls, the citizens should immediately report the incident on cybercrime helpline number 1930 or www.cybercrime.gov.in for assistance, the ministry said.

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