Online fraud is one type of fraud performed against a company or a person. The introduction of the internet has provided new opportunities for scammers, and it is an evil that stems from modern society’s increasing reliance on technology. Even if there is a lot of debate regarding cybercrime, is there something called cybercrime? Conventional crimes such as fraud and forgery are governed by different statutes such as the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or similar. However, the misuse of computers and associated electronic media has given rise to a slew of new forms of crimes, each with its own set of distinctive characteristics.
In India, the Information Technology Act (ITA) addresses activities in which a computer is used as a tool to do an illegal act. This type of action typically includes the use of technology to modify a traditional crime.
Money India Lost In Scams Highest Globally
According to the Microsoft 2021 Global Tech Support Scam Research report, people in India had a rather significant online fraud experience rate of 69 per cent in the previous year.
Furthermore, 31 per cent of Indians lost money as a result of fraud, the highest rate in the world.
Every month, Microsoft Corp. gets around 6,500 complaints from individuals who have been victims of tech support fraud throughout the world. This is a decrease from the previous year’s average of 13,000 reports each month.
In India, 48 per cent of people were duped into continuing with fraud, which is three times more than the global average. Thirty-one per cent of those polled continued to engage and finally lost money.
In India, 73 per cent of men who interacted with a fraudster were expected to lose money. In 2021, customers in India lost ₹15,334 on average, although 88% were able to recoup part of their money.
In 2021, millennials (aged 24 to 37) in India were the most vulnerable to such frauds, with 58 per cent of those who stayed with the fraud experiencing financial loss.
Unsolicited phone scams climbed from 23% to 31% in India between 2018 and 2021, and this is the fraud type that people in India reply to the most frequently, trailed by pop-up advertising, website redirection, and anonymous e-mails.
Online Gambling & Lottery Frauds
There are lots of internet sites that provide online gambling, all of which are located on servers in other countries. In reality, several of these sites are thought to be doors for financial fraud. There have been reports of hawala operations and financial fraud using the internet. It is unknown whether these websites have any connection to drug trafficking. A famous Indian case involving a cyber lottery was intriguing. The narrative of winning the Euro Lottery was fabricated by a guy named Kola Mohan. He set up a website and an e-mail account on the internet called ‘firstname.lastname@example.org.’
When easily accessed, the site would identify him as the recipient of the 12.5 million pounds. Following confirmation, as reported on Rediff, he gathered large amounts from the general population as well as from select banks in order to mobilise foreign currency deposits.
However, the scam was discovered when a cheque for ₹1.73 million that he had discounted with the Andhra Bank bounced. Mohan had pledged a photocopy of a bond certificate reportedly granted by Midland Bank, Sheffields, London, saying that a term deposit of 12.5 million was placed in his name with Andhra Bank.
People in India lose millions of dollars to lottery and gaming scams. With the increased usage of the internet and its widespread availability, these frauds have surged, making the online environment more dangerous.
A faked e-mail is one that looks to be generated from one origin but was really received from another. Jaya, for example, has the e-mail address JayaJha@gmail.com. Mukund, her adversary, spoofs her e-mail and sends nasty e-mails to all of her contacts. Because the e-mails look to have come from Jaya, her friends may feel offended, and relationships may be ruined for good.
E-mail spoofing can potentially result in financial loss. According to NBC News, in an American example, a teenager gained millions of dollars by distributing fake information about firms whose company shares he had short sold. This disinformation was promoted by sending fake e-mails supposedly from news organisations such as Reuters to share brokers and investors, who were convinced that the firms were performing extremely poorly. Even after the truth was revealed, the share prices did not return to their previous levels, and many investors completely lost a significant amount of money.
The Gujarat Ambuja Executive’s case, however, is the finest illustration of e-mail faking. He purported to be a female and blackmailed a Dubai-based NRI for millions of dollars.
Mailing a huge volume of e-mails to the target causes the target’s e-mail account (in the event of a person) or mail servers (in the event of a corporation or an e-mail service company) to collapse.
In one example, a foreigner who had been living in Shimla, India, for nearly thirty years wished to take advantage of a land-buying plan launched by the Shimla Housing Board. When he applied, he was turned down since the plan was only open to Indian people. He resolved to exact his vengeance. As a result, he sent hundreds of e-mails to the Shimla Housing Board and continued to send e-mails until their systems failed.
Somebody crashing the servers does significant damage. For example, when Amazon.com was down in 2013, the corporation lost $66,240 every minute, according to Forbes.
These assaults are used to commit financial fraud. The trick here is to get the change so little that it would go totally undetected in an individual scenario. For example, a bank employee puts software into the bank’s servers that deduct a small sum of money (₹3 each month) from each consumer’s account. No account holder will likely detect this illicit debt, but the bank staff will profit handsomely each month.
To provide an instance, a bank employee in the United States was fired. Dissatisfied with his alleged mistreatment by his superiors, the individual initially put a logic bomb into the bank’s systems. Logic bombs are software or programs that are triggered when a specific predetermined event occurs.
The logic bomb was set to take ten cents from each account in the bank and deposit them in the account of the individual whose name was sequentially last on the bank’s registers. Then he proceeded and created an account in Ziegler’s name as mentioned by Cyber Crime Chambers. The amount removed from each bank account was so little that nobody, not even the account holders or the bank employees, noticed this mistake.
It came to their attention when a man named Ziegler established an account at that bank. Each Saturday, he was startled to discover a sizable sum of money put into his account. As an ethical man, he disclosed the “error” to the bank officials, exposing the entire fraud.
Cyber fraudsters use phishing to send completely bogus texts in order to deceive individuals into disclosing important information or to install dangerous malware on targets’ computers or phones in order to penetrate them. In India, phishing is the most popular method of stealing money using the internet.
Phishing e-mails direct you to malicious websites. While it is easy to just disregard these messages, there are a handful that will trick, lure, or even amuse you, and if you catch the hook, you will become a scam sufferer or, far worse, a petty criminal.
The most prevalent situation of phishing scams is an e-mail from a scammer pretending to have access to several million dollars and asking you to assist him or her in transferring this money out of his nation. All they want is your bank account details and an upfront charge to cover the expense of the cash transfer. However, the massive monetary prize never appears. Another example is when you unintentionally open a fraudulent e-mail. This gives them access to all of your personal contacts on your e-mail account.
Protection Against These Scams
We can stop all the scams from happening but we can protect ourselves from them. Some of the tips for cyber protection are mentioned below. The below-mentioned list is not extensive.
Keep The Devices Updated
Malicious hackers commonly get information by exploiting known holes in the operating systems and applications that power your computer or phone. Updates are critical; correcting these weaknesses and holes will reduce your chances of being a sufferer of effective hacking attacks.
Get Antivirus Antimalware Protection & Frequent Scans
Technical assaults are also used by fraudsters to infiltrate or take control of your system by deploying viruses, trojans, malware, keyloggers, and spyware. Most new computers include a complimentary anti-virus application demo that you may buy once the trial period is up, but there are probably hundreds of anti-virus applications available.
Make certain that the software products you select deliver enough security, that they are kept up to date with the most recent virus descriptions, and that full screenings are scheduled at least twice per week.
Stick To Verified Applications
Mobile applications have altered the way we do the shopping and do business. Make sure you use a validated app whenever you download one on your smartphone. Install exclusively from official play stores, such as Google Play, Windows App Store, or Apple App Store; regardless it’s a business app or a different game.
Surf Only Through Authorised Website
Always be cautious of counterfeit websites and apps, which may appear official or use the identical web domain as the actual one in the URL. Check for “https://” preceding “www” and the lock symbol in your browser’s URL bar.
Use Most Secure Network
The urge to use free WiFi at a cafe, hotel lounge or airport can also lead to financial fraud. Avoid using public hotspots for making a financial transaction. Public networks are more prone to the risk of data theft since their encryption can be cracked easily to access your account’s crucial information.
Avoid Clicking On Any Unkown Links
The most prevalent methods of luring individuals into fraud include link fishing, bogus e-mails, and SMS. These links may appear legitimate and may entice you with boasts of winning the jackpot or landing a job in another country.
Do not click on such web links since they may take you to a phishing website and deactivate your phone’s security protections. If you actually receive an unwanted call, it is best to end the call.
Any Video Reference
To see how internet scams are perpetrated and how individuals become victims of such scams, watch Jamtara – Sabka Number Ayega, a web series whose first season was released on Netflix in 2020.
The series perfectly depicts how phishing and other scams are carried out in India, as well as how the fraudsters stay untraceable. If you want to learn more about internet fraud, this is a must-watch web series.
Also Read: Work From Home Or From Office? Where Is The Future Work Culture Heading Towards?