Warning: Beware of Cyber Criminals Impersonating State/UT Police, NCB, CBI, RBI, and Law Enforcement Agencies Engaging In ‘Blackmail’ and ‘Digital Arrest’ Tactics

(Judicial Quest News Network)

New Delhi, May 14, 2024: An alarming surge in complaints flooding the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (NCRP) underscores a disturbing trend of intimidation, blackmail, extortion, and “Digital Arrests” orchestrated by cyber criminals masquerading as Police Authorities, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Narcotics Department, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Enforcement Directorate, and other Law Enforcement Agencies.

The modus operandi of these fraudsters typically involves contacting potential victims, claiming that the victim is either the sender or intended recipient of a parcel containing illegal goods, drugs, forged passports, or other contraband items.

Alternatively, they may assert that a close acquaintance of the victim has been implicated in a crime or accident and is currently in their custody.

Subsequently, demands for monetary payment are made to ostensibly resolve the fabricated “case.” In some instances, unsuspecting victims are coerced into undergoing a “Digital Arrest,” where they are required to remain visually accessible over platforms like Skype until the criminals’ demands are met.

These fraudsters often simulate authentic environments by operating from studios resembling police stations or government offices, donning uniforms to enhance the illusion of legitimacy.

Instances of victims succumbing to these schemes and suffering substantial financial losses have been reported nationwide, indicating the organized nature of this online economic crime, which is believed to be orchestrated by cross-border crime syndicates.

In response to this escalating threat, the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), operating under the Ministry of Home Affairs, has taken proactive measures to combat cybercrime.

Collaborating closely with other ministries, agencies, RBI, and pertinent organizations, the I4C is spearheading efforts to counter these fraudulent activities. Notably, I4C, in collaboration with Microsoft, has successfully blocked over 1,000 Skype IDs associated with such criminal operations. Additionally, efforts are underway to block SIM cards, mobile devices, and mule accounts utilized by these fraudsters.

To bolster public awareness and resilience against such scams, I4C has disseminated various alerts, including infographics and videos, through its social media platform ‘Cyberdost’ on channels such as X, Facebook, Instagram, and others.

In light of the pervasive threat posed by these cyber criminals, citizens are urged to remain vigilant and actively propagate awareness about these fraudulent tactics.

Upon receiving suspicious calls, individuals are advised to promptly report the incident to the cybercrime helpline number 1930 or visit www.cybercrime.gov.in for immediate assistance.

This collaborative effort between law enforcement agencies and vigilant citizens is pivotal in curbing the proliferation of cybercrime and safeguarding individuals and communities from financial exploitation and emotional distress.

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