• 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) 


  • 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:


  • 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. 


  • 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. 


  • 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. 


  • 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.

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