Cyber ​​criminals sitting in these 3 countries are duping Indians, are you also becoming a victim of fraud?

Ananya Shroff
8 Min Read

New Delhi: These days, cases of cyber fraud are increasing rapidly. Fraudsters are adopting new methods of fraud through the Internet and making people their victims. Although cases of cyber fraud are coming from all over the world, a large number of Indians are becoming its victims. It is alleged that cyber crimes are being committed mainly by criminals sitting in three South-East Asian countries Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. According to the Indian Cyber ​​Crime Coordination Center (I4C), 46 percent of the total cases of cyber crime from January to April started from these three countries. About Rs 1,776 crore was defrauded in these cases. I4C works under the Union Home Ministry for the prevention, investigation and investigation of cyber crime in the country.

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According to a report by The Indian Express, data from the National Cyber ​​Crime Reporting Portal (NCRP) shows that 7.4 lakh complaints were filed between January 1 and April 30 this year, while 15.56 lakh complaints were received in the year 2023.

How many cyber frauds will happen between 2019 and 2024

  • 2024 (by April): 7.4 lakh
  • 2023: 15.56 lakhs
  • 2022: 9.66 lakhs
  • 2021: 4.52 lakhs
  • 2020: 2.57 lakh
  • 2019: 26,049

I4C has discovered four patterns of fraud criminals in these three countries and their modus operandi is similar.

1. Trading scams
Such scammers advertise free trading tips on social media, often using pictures of famous stock market experts and fake news articles. Victims are asked to join WhatsApp groups or Telegram channels where they are given tips on how to make money by investing in stocks.

After a few days, the victims will be asked to install some trading application and register themselves so that they can be guided to make huge profits. The victims start investing on the app following the recommendations made by the cyber criminals. None of these apps will be registered with SEBI, but the victims are usually negligent to check it.

Many victims deposited money in certain bank accounts to buy shares and were shown some fake profits in their digital wallets. But when they tried to withdraw this money, they were shown a message that they could withdraw it only when a certain amount, say Rs 30-50 lakh, was deposited in their wallets. This meant that the victim had to keep investing and sometimes, they also had to pay taxes on the profits allegedly earned. Rajesh Kumar, CEO of I4C, said, “After analysing the data of the first four months of this year, we found that Indians lost Rs 1420.48 crore in trading scams.”

2. Digital arrest
Another and newer method of cyber fraud is cyber fraud. In this, fraudsters call the victim and tell them that someone has sent them a parcel full of illegal goods, drugs, fake passports or other prohibited items. In some cases, relatives or friends of the targeted person will be told that their loved one has been found involved in a serious crime.

Once they found their victim (who was carefully selected), the criminals would contact them on Skype or any other video calling platform. They would introduce themselves as law enforcement officers. The fraudsters would often wear uniforms and pretend to be calling from places like a police station or a government office. They would then talk about closing the case in exchange for some bribe.

Rajesh Kumar said that in some cases the victims were put under digital arrest, which meant they were forced to appear before the criminals until their demands were met. Indians lost a total of Rs 120.30 crore in such scams during the January-April period.

3. Investment scams
In such frauds, victims usually receive a WhatsApp message from a foreign number, allegedly from a company representative, offering to earn a huge amount of money like Rs 30,000 sitting at home. People are told that they have to help increase the social media rating of some organisations by giving them five star ratings. After the work is done, victims get a code, which they are asked to share with their manager on Telegram. The manager asks the victims how they want to receive their money. At times, small amounts like Rs 500 are also transferred to the victims for giving ratings on YouTube or Google.

The real game starts from here. The fraudster asks people to do pre-paid or merchant work, in which his earnings can range from Rs 1,500 to one lakh. The fraudsters ask the victims for some money in return, if they refuse, they are blocked. But those who choose the offer are told that the money and profits will come to them in a day. However, the next day the victims are told that their performance score is not good. They need to improve it by participating in new work so that they can get their money. Indians have lost Rs 222.58 crore in such scams.

4. Romance/Dating Scams
This was the most common method in cyber crime cases. Male victims are trapped in this type of scam. Fraudsters pose as foreign women and propose sex or marriage. They also make plans to meet in person. After this, they usually get a call from the woman saying that she has been detained at the airport and needs money to get out of here.

US intelligence agency FBI says romance scammers are adept at appearing genuine, caring and trustworthy. These fraudsters usually find their victims on dating and social media sites and try to win the victim's trust as quickly as possible. Kumar said that in the first four months of this year, Indian victims have lost a total of Rs 13.23 crore in romance/dating scams.

Why do most crimes occur in South-East Asian countries?
After analysing NCRP data, inputs from states and union territories and some open-source information, I4C zeroed in on Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. “Cybercrime offices based in these countries use fraudulent tactics by leveraging social media to lure Indians with fake employment opportunities,” Kumar said. I4C has found that many of the web applications used in the crime had Mandarin characters. “We cannot rule out any Chinese connection,” Kumar said.

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