• Sanskriti IAS - अखिल मूर्ति के निर्देशन में
7428 085 757
(Contact Number)
9555 124 124
(Missed Call Number)

Cyber fraud in the time of covid-19

  • 3rd May, 2021

(Mains GS 3 : Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges & Basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention) 

Context:

  • As India grapples with the second covid wave, cybercriminals are working overtime to take advantage of the situation. 
  • There are already many incidents of fraud involving vaccines, donations, etc.
  • Cybercriminals posed as bank officials and offered loan moratorium for a “fee" and  there were fake UPI (unified payment interface) handles for the PM CARES Fund. 

Growing cybercrimes and vulnerability: 

  • According to the Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report by NortonLifeLock, a cybersecurity firm, nearly 120 million people experienced cybercrime between February 2020 and 2021.
  • It could worsen more in 2021 as people continue to work from home and use online services more often.
  • Internet banking penetration has increased as  even in rural areas, mobile banking transactions are on the rise.
  • But the awareness about cybercrimes has not kept pace in proportion which makes many easy targets.
  • New hubs of cybercrimes have mushroomed like the infamous Jamtara in Jharkhand, gangs now operate out of Bharatpur in Rajasthan, Mewat in Haryana, etc.  

Cyber frauds and ways to protect:

COVID-19 TESTING:

  • As the number of covid cases rises, laboratories are unable to keep up with the demand for tests. 
  • Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the clogged system. 
  • There have been cases where people booked tests online with little-known labs, which turned out to be frauds. 
  • The scammers even visit the victim’s house and collect the sample and later, they either don’t provide a report or send a fake one.
  • The caution: Book a test with a lab approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research. 
  • If someone comes across a new lab, do an online search by typing the company name and adding ‘fraud’ to it. 
  • There is a good probability that victims would have talked about it on social media. 

JABS AND DRUGS:

  • As the vaccination drive started, the government allowed individuals to book appointments online on  a platform called Co-WIN for registrations. 
  • Cybercriminals started releasing apps with Co-WIN as part of their names. 
  • There have been instances where cybercriminals made fake websites asking people to pre-book vaccines by paying upfront. 
  • Bogus websites have been selling drugs like remdesivir that are in short supply.
  • Scammers even stole data pretending to be government officials wanting to track the progress of those who are vaccinated. 
  • They ask individuals to upload personal details and identity documents for such tracking. 
  • In the past year, over 27 million Indians were victims of identity theft, according to the NortonLifeLock report.
  • The caution:When downloading an app, look at the creator and Verify whether it’s from an official source or not.
  • “Guard your documents diligently as cybercriminals can use Aadhaar, PAN card and mobile number details in many ways. 
  • By stealing your identity, they can take loans in your name, open bank accounts and get illegal money transferred and even carry out SIM-swap fraud. 

DONATIONS AND CHARITIES:

  • Social media is full of people asking for help. 
  • Many individuals have taken initiatives to provide support to the needy, and they ask their friends on Twitter or Facebook to contribute if they wish.
  • Cybersecurity experts warn that it’s possible for cybercriminals to fake such initiatives and ask for contributions.
  • The Caution: If someone wants to donate, preferably give money to an established NGO.
  • Criminals are known to have used hacked Facebook or Twitter accounts and reached out to followers or people on the friends’ list and asked for monetary help. 
  • Thus avoid sending money to someone unless you have confirmed it’s the same person seeking help. 

Conclusion:

  • Thus for avoiding cyber fraud, add two-factor authentication to your accounts. 
  • This provides another layer of security by requiring two steps to gain access to your account.
  • Avoid putting your mobile number, date of birth and other details online and be suspicious of all unknown incoming messages, emails or calls.
CONNECT WITH US!

X
Classroom Courses Details Online Courses Details Pendrive Courses Details PT Test Series 2021 Details