Cyber frauds use fake Instagram, Facebook profiles to dupe students

| | Ranchi
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Cyber frauds use fake Instagram, Facebook profiles to dupe students

Sunday, 22 December 2019 | PNS | Ranchi

Twenty-one-year-old Chetan Chabra had no clue that his friends were sending money to a bank account assuming that it belongs to him. He got to know about it when one of his friends called him over phone and asked if he has received the money or not.

The hypothesis: A cyber fraud made a fake account of Chetan on social media platform Instagram and sent messages to his friends seeking money to address an exigency. Two of his friends fell in the trap and transferred Rs 3000 each to a bank account in Dhanbad. Now, the fake Instagram account has been deleted and the cyber fraud is traceless.

The Cyber Cell of Jharkhand police in Ranchi has witnessed a sudden surge in similar fraud cases in the recent past, police said on Saturday. Many cyber frauds open fake accounts on Facebook and Instagram and seek money from other account holders taking advantage of mutual trust among friends, said Ranchi Deputy Superintendent of Police (Cyber Cell), Shivendra, who goes by one name.

“We received a similar complaint from Deoghar recently. Sometimes people, especially from the young generation, fall prey to such traps as most of them usually communicate through online chatting platforms instead of voice calls,” said Shivendra, adding that the Cyber Cell in Ranchi has received several such complaints over phone calls. However, very few written complaints are lodged in such cases since the amount duped is usually within Rs.5000.

Chetan, a student at Amity University in Lucknow, said that the cyber fraud stole his pictures from Instagram and used them to bluff his friends. “My friends saw my pictures in the profile and thought that I was operating it. He contacted two of my friends and asked them to send Rs.3000 each as soon as possible. Since the amount was not too high, they transferred the money to the said account using Google Pay and Paytm. I got to know about it later when one of them contacted me over phone,” said the Mass Communication student,

who has decided to approach the Uttar Pradesh

Cyber Cell to address

the case.   

Through this new practice cyber frauds usually target the student community, police said. Phishing is still the most common technique used by cyber criminals to dupe people of higher amounts of money, they added.

“Students should stay careful. They should not send money to any friend without having a conversation over a phone call. Any suspicious account should be reported immediately,” said

Shivendra.

This correspondent too received a similar request on Instagram in September. He received a message on the social media platform from an account that had a picture of one of his close friends.

The person asked for Rs 10,000 to address a medical emergency. However, the account was deleted within a couple of days.

Jharkhand has been home to many gangs of cyber criminals. Jamtara, which has gained the infamy of being the cyber crime capital of the country, initially started breeding cyber criminals and later they spread in other districts neighbouring Jamtara. Around 200 Kilometers north of Ranchi, Jamtara is the Indian equivalent of the Romanian town of Ramnicu Valcea, dubbed Scamville, which is the global capital for cyber criminals.

Young cyber criminals from villages in this district have duped rich businessmen, bureaucrats, and even policemen from across the country through phishing. 

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