You have been 'digitally arrested'… Now Indians will not be trapped in the trap of international spoof calls, what is the government's plan?

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
4 Min Read

New Delhi: The Indian government is preparing to curb the fake calls coming from foreign numbers, in which people threaten 'digital arrest' by claiming to be officers of CBI, NCB or any other government department. These callers are actually trying to extort money from people. The Indian Cyber ​​Crime Coordination Center (I4C) is working with Microsoft to help catch these fraudsters. So far, thousands of fake Skype accounts have been closed, which these fraudsters used to convince government departments.

How do you get caught in the trap of a fraudster?

These fraudsters use many methods to extort money. They may ask for international bank transfer, purchase of gold, cryptocurrency or ATM withdrawal. If you receive such a call, you can visit the government's cyber crime website and file a complaint against that number, WhatsApp account or website URL. You can also check suspicious numbers with the information available there. The Indian Cyber ​​Crime Coordination Center (I4C) and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) are working together to stop fake calls coming from abroad. These fraudsters call you pretending to be an officer of a law enforcement agency like NCB or CBI and say that you have been 'digitally arrested'. On the other hand, I4C is helping foreign fraudsters to extort money from Indians in collaboration with Microsoft

What do the officials say?

According to Rajesh Kumar, CEO of I4C, there have been many cases where the caller, pretending to be an officer of the police or any other agency, threatens digital arrest and then demands money. Kumar further said, 'The fraudster calls from an Indian number and talks to the victim. Using call spoofing, they introduce themselves as officers of CBI, RBI, NIA or banks. The methods of extorting money during digital arrest include international fund transfer, gold, cryptocurrency and ATM withdrawals. Kumar also appealed to people to report fraudulent phone numbers, WhatsApp accounts or URLs on the cyber crime website 'Suspicious Data'. Also, the phone number can also be checked against the 'Suspicious Storage Data' available on the website.

Home Ministry's advice on 'digital arrest'

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had last week issued an advisory on 'digital arrest', detailing how these fraudsters use studios imitating police stations and government offices and wear uniforms to look real. They call the potential victim and tell him that he has either sent or is about to receive a parcel of illegal goods, drugs, fake passports or any other prohibited items. Sometimes, they also say that someone close to the victim has been found involved in a crime or has met with an accident and has been taken into custody. People trapped by these fraudsters are forced to pay money to settle the matter. In some cases, gullible victims face digital arrest and are forced to stay online on Skype or any other video conferencing platform till their demands are met. It is an organised online economic crime and is operated by cross-border crime syndicates. The Home Ministry also informed that I4C is also helping in blocking SIM cards, mobile devices and fake accounts used by such fraudsters.

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