Safer Internet Day 2019: Cosmos Bank Fraud, UPI And More - Beware Of These New Age Online Frauds
Safer Internet Day 2019 (Photo Credits: File Photo)

With the rampant growth in online services and internet use, there are many opportunities for criminals to carry out online fraud using various techniques. We have known that online fraudsters are everywhere, irrespective of the region and country and that their scams are numerous. Out of all online frauds we know, the most common types are phishing, spoofing and pop-up frauds. In phishing, the fraudster collects the personal details of an individual, like usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, claiming to be legitimate. Meanwhile spoofing is the act of disguising a communication from an unknown source as being from a trusted source and can be applied to emails, phone calls, and websites. Safer Internet Day 2019: How To Ensure Safety For Your Online Transactions?

Apart from being an amazing invention, the internet is a double-edged sword. As technology has made it easier to reach out to people at any nook and corner of the world, it has also paved way for fraudsters to mask their identity, and create fake emails and websites to dupe people. It so happens that most of the times an e-mail directs you to a website where you are asked to update your personal information. As the website often looks official and credible, a person may be tricked to disclosing valuable information, which he would not normally reveal. Such activities result in frauds and many have suffered major financial losses. Google Highlights These Simple Steps To Remain Safe on Internet

What is Safer Internet Day?

Safer Internet Day aims to make the internet a place where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. It came into existence officially in 2012. Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre the celebration sees hundreds of organisations get involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.

Surveys on Online Frauds:

According to a global survey conducted by FIS, a financial services technology firm, Indians are among the most frequent victims of online banking frauds. According to reports, nearly 18 percent of Indians surveyed reported fraud in the preceding year, which was a higher percentage than any respondents in other countries. In comparison, only 8 percent of people from Germany reported a fraud followed by 6 percent in the United Kingdom. In December, Ravi Shankar Prasad, the minister for information technology, said that there were over 25,800 cases of digital fraud in India in 2017. What is Safer Internet Day? Know History and Significance.

Meanwhile, according to data collated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), a total of 972 such incidents were reported in 2017-18. This accounts for roughly three cases on a daily basis. The information was given by the Minister of State (MoS) for Finance in the Lok Sabha on 25th August 2018 in response to a question on the number of ATM robberies, and the safety of financial outposts in the country. The data included incidents of robbery, dacoity, burglary, and theft directed at financial institutions in the last three years.

Reports inform that the banking sector lost a total of Rs 168.74 crore to organised crime directed at ATMs in the past three years from 2015. Reports inform that between April and June 2018, 261 incidents were reported, entailing a loss of Rs 18.85 crore to banks. However, as per reports, the maximum number of untoward incidents in banks and ATMs was reported in Bihar in the financial year that ended in March 2018.

“Together for a better internet” is the theme of Safer Internet Day 2019. While the push for Digital India at an all-time high across the country, the risks haved increased too. Here are some famous frauds that question digital security:

Cosmos Bank Fraud:

The Cosmos Bank Fraud is one of the famous incidents of online scams in India where hackers managed to syphon off over Rs 94 crore through a malware attack on the server of Pune-based Cosmos Bank. The hackers cloned thousands of the bank's debit cards over a period of two days. On August 11 and 13, the hackers stole information of the bank's VISA and Rupay card customers, attacked the SWIFT system and syphoned the money. The malware attack on the bank’s systems raises several questions about the security controls. Four people were arrested in connection with a cyber fraud case in September 2018.

Police believe that after stealing information, money was withdrawn from ATMs in as many as 28 countries. Investigations revealed similarities between the heists at the Pune-based Cosmos Bank and Chennai's City Union Bank. Reports inform that the malware attack by the hackers originated in Canada. In a release, NPCI said one of its network members has confirmed about a malware-based attack on their system which has caused a fraud loss of over Rs 90 crore.

Online Fraud in Pune:

A major online fraud was reported from Pune in November 2018 where a woman was duped of Rs 37 lakh. According to reports, a 37-year-old woman working for an aviation company was cheated by online fraudsters. The Police termed the online fraud as an “advanced fee scam”. According to a report by the Indian Express, the victim was made to deposit different sums on various fake pretexts like ‘anti-drug’ clearances, ‘terrorist form’, arrangements for the man’s accommodation, ‘upgrading’ complainant’s bank account and currency transfer fees, among others. The report stated that the complainant was asked to transfer Rs 33.5 lakh over a period of around two weeks into nine different bank accounts. She approached the police after she realised she had been cheated.

SBI UPI fraud in Delhi:

In another incident of online fraud, a State Bank of India (SBI) account holder from Noida was duped of Rs 6.8 lakh via the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) app. According to a report by Business Today, the savings account targeted by the alleged hackers belongs to a man named Mohan Lal from Sector 12 of Noida in Delhi. Lal said he found out about the fraud when he visited an ATM to withdraw money. Upon visiting the SBI branch in December 2018, Lal found out that money has been transferred from his account seven times since September 29.

UPI Fraud in Uttar Pradesh:

A shocking UPI app fraud was reported from Uttar Pradesh in December 2018, where just a SIM swap caused a man to lose almost all his savings. According to a TOI report, 30-year-old Mohan Lal, from Noida said he has been cheated of Rs 6.80 lakh via a UPI app. He said he was a victim of the fraud even though he did not own a smartphone. Describing his ordeal, Lal said the amount was transferred from his SBI saving account using a UPI app and the hackers continued this for two months. The fraud came to light when the man visited an ATM to withdraw money in December. The man was shocked to find that money was transferred seven times from his account since 29 September 2018.

According to reports, India has now become the second largest internet user base in the world with over 446 million internet users. By 2021, it is estimated that there will be about 635.8 million internet users in India. While technology has made life easier for everyone, it has also given hackers more opportunities to carry out fraudulent activities. On safer internet day today, let's pledge to take simple steps to avoid falling prey to online frauds; adding a screen lock or a fingerprint lock on your mobile phone can make you a lot safer on the Internet.