Investigators sound alarm on IVR trap: Cyber criminals use automated calls as gateway to frauds | Pune News | #cybercrime | #infosec

“Hello. This is the Mumbai High Court. A notice in your name has been given to Mumbai police. Press 0 to contact Mumbai police,” a recorded message said in a call made to a government official in Pune.

“This is the Telecom Department. Regarding blocking all mobile numbers registered under your name after two hours. Press 9,” said a recorded message in another call made to a serving Armed Forces officer in Pune.

In both the above cases, the senior government officials and Army officers promptly identified that these were fraud calls. However, many others who received similar “vishing” or voice phishing calls have unfortunately become victims of cybercriminals and have lost lakhs to various fraudulent schemes.

The Cyber crime investigators of Pune city police have warned citizens about interactive voice response (IVR) calls, which include pre-recorded messages and keypad prompts used to pull victims into a web of fraudulent schemes. Over the last two months, at least three dozen cases of different types of cyber crimes have been reported which begin with IVR calls, an officer told Express.

On March 29, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) of the Union Ministry of Communications issued an advisory to citizens that calls were being received by citizens wherein callers, in the name of the DoT, threatened that all of their mobile numbers would be disconnected or that their numbers were being misused in illegal activities.

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“Cyber criminals through such calls try to threaten or steal personal information to carry out cyber crimes or financial fraud. The DoT does not authorise anyone to make such calls on its behalf and has advised people to stay vigilant and has asked them not to share any information on receiving such calls.” the advisory read.

Senior Inspector Minal Patil, in-charge of the Cyber Crime police station said, “These types of IVR calls and recorded messages are being used by Cyber criminals to manipulate or coerce the victims into sharing information and making funds transfers in drugs in parcels scams, power or telephone bill pending frauds, gift card or lottery frauds, bank or insurance frauds among others. After these calls, if responded to, cyber criminals send fraudulent emails or links. These links either lead victims to fraudulent phone apps or websites. These websites steal data or gain remote access. This information or access is then used to arm twist the victims into making payments.”

“People need to clearly understand that no departments make such calls and seek transfer of funds. People should not click any link sent after such calls and not make any transfers. The local cyber crime unit or police should be immediately contacted if they respond and further engage in communication and transactions,” Senior Inspector Patil added.

Officials said that all the latest drugs-in-parcel scams started with IVR calls along with recorded messages. In these drugs in parcel scams, the victims receive the IVR message and are then connected to fake international courier service executives. These executives claim drugs have been found in parcels addressed to victims. They are told about police involvement and are told to communicate via Skype with fake profiles posing as law enforcement.

Fraudsters impersonate IPS officers to further deceive victims. They coerce victims into transferring money for various reasons, including customs fees or legal charges, and by also claiming that their bank accounts are at risk from hackers. Callers often intimidate victims, claiming they’re under surveillance. Both Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad police have reported dozens of these cyber crime cases since last year.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First uploaded on: 30-04-2024 at 09:57 IST

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