Crooks target online advertisers

With popular online marketplace and classified advertising platforms OLX and Quikr blocking the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses originating from the country’s cybercrime hubs — Bharatpur in Rajasthan and Jharkhand’s Jamtara — the fraudsters are pretending to be buyers and cheating people who post ads online.

In the past few years, lakhs of people from across the country fell to the tactics of cybercrooks who post fake ads online and dupe them.

Complaints galore

With the rising number of complaints from law enforcement agencies from each State, the online platforms have started blocking accounts from Jamtara and Bharatpur. However, the fraudsters, like always, find new ways to cheat people.

Now, they are targetting those who post genuine ads. They call the seller impersonating as Army personnel, who got transferred recently to their city, finalise the deal without any bargain. And while finalising the payment, the fraudsters tell the seller that they want to transfer money using UPI (Unified Payment Interface) ID and ask the latter to enter his UPI number in the app on their phone. The minute sellers do that, they get a message from the bank, informing them about money getting debited from their account.

When again they call the person to figure out what happened, they say something went wrong and ask the sellers to try doing it again. Again when they try the same again, and then again, money gets debited all the time, before the sellers realise that they got conned by entering their UPI PIN, authorising payment, but not any UPI number. These days, the fraudsters are also sending Quick Response (QR) codes to the sellers after finalising the deal and asking them to scan the code to receive money, but in turn, the money gets debited.

QR codes

Police said that cyber crooks in Bharatpur and Jamtara are generating thousands of QR codes each day in the software purchased from Chinese hackers on the dark web. They are making payments through bitcoins to purchase the software from Chinese hackers.

“Most of the fraudsters impersonate as Army personnel who ask the sellers to scan the QR code stating that the money gets debited via Merchant Payment System,” Cyberabad’s Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crimes) Rohini Priyadarshini said.

“As they are not able to post fake ads online, they are targeting those who post online,” she said. This year alone, the cybercrime police of Cyberabad and Rachakonda commissionerates received over 170 cases of QR code frauds in which the victims lost over ₹25 lakh.

Ms Priyadarshini requested people not to scan QR codes to receive money as there is no such facility.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 3:04:04 PM |

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