"We have received over 8,300 complaints from individuals"
Indian police have warned that cybercrime in India has surged as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The warning comes after police lodged a case against an unknown online fraudster for attempting to commit one of the most brazen frauds.
The perpetrator plotted to sell the world’s largest statue for $4 billion, claiming that the proceeds would be used to help the Gujarat state government fund its fight against COVID-19.
The Statue of Unity is a monument that is located in Gujarat and is nearly twice the height of New York’s Statue of Liberty.
While police say it is one of the most outrageous cases, they said that cybercrime has increased since the pandemic gripped the country.
Scams range from free mobile recharges to offers of free Netflix subscriptions.
Ministry of Home Affairs officials have stated that there has been an 86% rise in cybercrime within a four-week period.
Police and internal security officials said that fraudsters have created bogus versions of the flagship PM Cares Fund payments interface that look similar to the original.
As a result, many local and non-residential Indians have fallen victim to the scam.
A senior Home Ministry official said:
“We have received over 8,300 complaints from individuals across India and non-residents Indians who have donated thousands of dollars into fake accounts.”
He added that recovering the money would be difficult.
Dilip Asbe is the CEO of National Payments Corporation of India, an umbrella organisation for retail payments. He stated:
“We have already blocked all handles with permutations and combinations of the PM Cares Fund that were illegitimate and we are being watchful and ensuring that the handles for donations get verified.”
Police cases have been registered against bogus offers that Jio and Netflix were offering discounted services at a time when the entire nation of India were under lockdown.
India has been under lockdown since March 24, 2020, and it is set to expire on April 14, 2020.
Netflix and Jio officials did not comment on the fraud committed under their names.
CERT-In, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team and ReBIT, issued warnings about online threats and scams.
They told financial institutions to be vigilant.
Nitin Bhatnagar, a senior official at PCI Security Standards Council, said:
“The US Secret Service has also warned nations that during a time of uncertainty and increased online activity, cyber-criminals are actively working to exploit the current COVID-19 story with attacks aimed at taking advantage of the situation.”