Cybercriminals now using promise of delicious food to cheat people

new delhi: While COVID-19 has changed people's lives like never before, it has also allowed cybercriminals to devise new modus operandi and take advantage of people's cravings for delicious and exotic food items as the Delhi Police have now landed a case where criminals were found duping people by creating fake social media pages of restaurants and hotels and enticing them with the promise of delivering hot and tasty meals.

An officer with Cyber Prevention, Awareness & Detection Centre (CyPAD) told Millennium Post that they have seen different modus operandi used by cybercriminals. "Fake pages of prominent hotels, restaurants are being posted on social media platforms to dupe people. Through the pages, they inform people about heavy discounts, free food items and home delivery. This is a trick to cheat people," the official said. In one of the districts, Delhi Police received a complaint about the cheating and they have started their probe.

"We suspect the role of a Jamtara based gang. They duped the victim by taking his credentials by tricking him into downloading a remote sensing application and through that they accessed the victim's phone and cheated him through fraudulent transactions," the official added.

Before COVID-19, many people used to visit banks for monetary activities but after the pandemic, people have started opting for payment applications. "Many users were new to online payment and there are possibilities that they were duped during their transactions," another official said.

In one of the cases, a man, a first time user of online transactions, was duped of his money by fraudsters on the pretext of loan payments.

"They have prepared several fake pages on the internet of various companies and whenever a person makes phone calls on the numbers provided on that page, they easily dupe them," the official added.

As per the latest data available with the Delhi Police, the city police have registered more than 16,900 cyber complaints from August last year to May this year and of these, 712 have been converted into FIRs while 157 complaints were rejected for want of prima facie evidence. Sources said that till the last week of May, as many as 8,964 complaints were under process, 5,919 complaints were closed and 781 were pending.

"In 279 complaints, no action was taken whereas 155 complaints were withdrawn," the data shows.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (CyPAD) Anyesh Roy said, "There are several ways to protect yourselves from these frauds, one is to crosscheck the credential of the page. If it is a Facebook page then you can check with the followers, for instance, the fake page will have very few followers compare to genuine page."

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