The cops issue notices from time to time warning people not to blindly trust these messages or click on any links sent through them. They said that any commercial organization or bank or any service provider sends promotional messages through registered bulk messaging service where a “header” is displayed instead of number in the app mobile messaging. While scam messages sent by scammers display their private mobile number instead of the header. The main precaution to take is not to trust messages sent by unknown private numbers.
Jitendra Singh (name changed), a resident of Awadhpuri, works as a manager in a private company. He received a message from a private number on his cell phone. The message mentioned that if he wanted to talk to the local women, he should call the number given. Jitendra started chatting with the woman and they became friends. A few days later, the woman lured him into a “naked call” and then recorded his video. Soon, Jitendra received messages asking for money with screenshots of naked video calls. Initially, he paid the extortion of around Rs 50,000, but when the demands started to increase, he reported the matter to the cybercrime branch.
Jitendra is not the only one who has been the victim of cybercrime through a message. A 20-year-old from Govindpura was lured into the trap by a message offering him the job of ‘gigolo’ on an online dating site. He fell into the trap and clicked on the link sent by the message. The fraudster took Rs 40,800 from the victim and demanded Rs 48,000 more. The youth had paid the money without informing his family members. Since he did not pay more money, the accused started harassing him on the phone. Fed up, the youngster committed suicide by hanging himself at home on January 3.
ACP (Cyber-Crime Branch) Akshay Choudhary said that many genuine dating apps work legally but online scammers send these messages in their suit to lure victims and then extort money from them. Many people report these incidents to the police while many others do not press charges for fear of social vilification. The most common fraud messages are sent offering online loans, jobs, messages to redeem reward points on credit cards, online shopping offers. He said genuine promotional messages are sent by companies or banks through their header, while most fraudulent messages are sent through private mobile numbers. Fraudsters copy the original messages and then send them through their numbers with a phishing link. He said that about 500 cybercrime complaints are reported to the cybercrime branch each month on average. Police are currently investigating around 15-20 such complaints in which online fraudsters extorted money from victims.
Speaking on precautions, he said people should not trust messages received from unknown numbers. If such a promotional message or a message offering any service is received, individuals should verify it with the company or organization concerned. People should not click on unverified links received through such messages. If they receive such a message, they must report it to the cybercrime branch.