HomeIndian DefenceMHA warns against cybercriminals posing as police officials

MHA warns against cybercriminals posing as police officials

New Delhi: Amid rising cases of cyber fraud and digital arrests, the Union home ministry on Tuesday issued an alert against intimidation, blackmail, extortion and “digital arrests” by cyber criminals posing as police or other law enforcement agencies. The ministry said this is an organised online economic crime operated by cross-border crime syndicates. Across the country, several victims have lost large amounts of money to such criminals, it said.

“A large number of complaints are being reported on National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (NCRP) regarding intimidation, blackmail, extortion and ‘digital arrests’ by cyber criminals posing as police authorities, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Narcotics Department, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Enforcement Directorate and other law enforcement agencies,” the MHA pointed out in its statement.

Elaborating on the modus operandi of these fraudsters, the ministry claimed that they typically call a potential victim and inform that he or she has sent or is the intended recipient of a parcel, which contains illegal goods, drugs, fake passports, or any other contraband item. Sometimes, they also inform that a near or dear one of the victims has been found to be involved in a crime or an accident and is in their custody. The fraudsters will then demand money to compromise the ‘case’, the ministry elaborated.

MHA Warns Against Cybercriminals Posing As Police Officials

“In certain instances, unsuspecting victims are made to undergo ‘digital arrest’ and remain visually available over Skype or other video conferencing platform to the fraudsters, till their demands are met,” the MHA warned. It clarified that the fraudsters use studios modelled like police stations and government offices and wear uniforms to appear genuine. The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), under the home ministry, coordinates activities related to combating cybercrime in the country.

MHA said it is closely working with other ministries and their agencies, the RBI and other organisations to counter these frauds.

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