People should not download loan apps, fall prey to ‘sextortion’, says T.N. Cyber Crime Wing chief

Published - October 29, 2022 06:44 am IST - Chennai

Director General of Police Amaresh Pujari.

Director General of Police Amaresh Pujari. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Director General of Police Amaresh Pujari, who heads the Cyber Crime Wing of Tamil Nadu Police, in an interview with The Hindu cautioned people not to download loan apps from unverified websites to avoid falling prey to fraudsters. He also elaborated on the emerging trends in cyber frauds and helplines for victims. Excerpts: 

There have been cases of people, who borrowed small sums, being harassed and blackmailed by those managing predatory loan apps. How does one deal with them?

Whenever such loan apps come to our notice, we take up the matter with the app provider to take it down. This year, we came across273 loan apps on Google Play Store. After sustained follow-up by the Cyber Crime Wing, Google has taken down 211 apps. Efforts are being made to bring down the remaining 62 apps. The problem, however, is compounded by the fact that people download such loan apps from various websites too. I would strongly urge people not to download any app from unverified websites as it can contaminate their mobile phones and lead to loss of money.

What are some of the other emerging cyber frauds?

Of late, many people have fallen victim to what has come to be called the ‘Boss Scam’. Fraudsters use photos of senior officers in Display Pictures (DPs) on WhatsApp as means of impersonation and send messages to people working in the particular offices, requesting money or asking them to click a link for gift cards. I would urge people not to respond to such messages unless it is from known numbers of their bosses or colleagues.

Another scam is ‘Sextortion’. In this scam, the victim receives a video call from an unknown number. Once the person accepts the call and starts talking, the scamster on the other end, typically a woman, starts stripping. Later, screen records of this video call are used to blackmail the victims. People should refrain from accepting video calls from unknown persons/numbers. Many people receive fraudulent messages to pay electricity bill dues or complete KYC verification for their bank account. People should not respond to such messages and verify it with the Electricity Board office or their bank managers.

What about Ransomware attacks?

We have come across a few cases of ransomware attacks. Organisations, besides taking usual cyber security precautions, should segment their network based on account privileges, use multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all accounts, look out for insider threat, conduct regular cyber security audits to know blind or weak spots, have regular backups, train their staff and prioritise security over productivity.

Is there any quick redressal mechanism for those who fall victim to online fraudsters?

One of the quickest redressal mechanisms for a common man who loses money to fraudsters is to dial our toll-free helpline number 1930. This number is handled by our trained staff, working round-the-clock at our dedicated control room in the Cyber Crime Wing Headquarters. The staff will get the necessary details from the victim and initiate freezing of the fraudulent transaction so that money could be returned to the victim by the bank. The earlier the people report the incident to the helpline, the more are the chances of them getting back their money.

Complaints can also be lodged on our portal or through our mobile App ‘Kaval Uthavi’.

People can also approach the Cyber Cell in their nearest police station. Cyber Support Officer (CSO) at the police station will help them in lodging the complaint.

We can also be contacted on Instagram:; Facebook:; and Twitter:

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