Financial cybercrime is on the rise and above all, there are some Interstate gangs that are targeting citizens at ATMs. The Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) police in Maharashtra have detected 16 cases with the arrest of four persons who distracted people at ATM centres and stole their money. But telephone money scams are yet to be controlled. In a crackdown on ATM frauds across Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli and nearby areas, the anti-extortion cell of Thane police arrested four members of an inter-district gang after solving eight such cases.
The accused used to trick women, senior citizens and teenagers on the pretext of helping them at the ATM centres and replacing their ATM cards, getting its PIN and using it to withdraw money. The gang had managed to withdraw lakhs of rupees from the ATM centres in this manner. A total of 101 ATM cards were seized from them by the police. The police have recovered Rs 70,000 in cash and Rs 4.06 lakh worth of vehicles and other items used by the gang to carry out the crime. The commoners are gullible targets and the police are sometimes most helpless. There was one television series called Jamtara – Sabka Number Ayega, it showed how this group of small-town young men run a lucrative phishing operation until a corrupt politician wants in on their scheme — and a cop wants to fight it.
In real life too there are youngsters who trap their targets through social engineering. There are a bunch of small-town young guns that operate a successful phishing racket. Phishing attacks, where a cybercriminal sends a deceptive message that’s designed to fool a user into providing sensitive information such as credit card numbers or to launch malware on the user’s system, are on the rise. There was a 61% increase in the rate of phishing attacks in the six months ending October 2022 compared to the previous year.
The attacks are also getting more sophisticated, and are spreading beyond emails to text messages and other forms of personal communication. Phishing is on the rise, and anyone who uses email, text messaging, and other forms of communication is a potential victim.
Fraudsters send messages over email, text or social media, posing as trusted organisations to trick people into handing over money or personal details. But who is most at risk, and what can we do to protect ourselves? New data have revealed half of the adults reported receiving a “phishing” message in the month before being asked. Those aged 25 to 44 years are most likely to be targeted, according to results from the Telephone-operated Crime Survey of England and Wales (TCSEW).
Traditionally sent via email, phishing involves messages from fraudsters posing as legitimate organisations to extract personal information, or money, from the victim. They have exploited significant events, including the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the rising cost of living, to target victims. There is also evidence of fraudsters taking advantage of widespread behavioural changes because of the pandemic, such as the rise in online shopping.
This includes a nine-fold rise in “advance fee fraud” (victims making upfront payments for goods or services which then do not materialise) and a 57% rise in “consumer and retail fraud” from pre-pandemic levels. Advance fee fraud is significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels
An October 2022 study by messaging security provider SlashNext analyzed billions of link-based URLs, attachments, and natural language messages in email, mobile and browser channels over a six-month period, and found more than 255 million attacks. That’s a 61% increase in the rate of phishing attacks compared with 2021. The study revealed that cybercriminals are shifting their attacks to mobile and personal communication channels to reach users. It showed a 50% increase in attacks on mobile devices, with scams and credential theft at the top of the list of payloads.
One of the iterations of phishing that people need to be aware of is spear phishing, a more targeted form of phishing that often uses topical lures. While it is not a new tactic, the topics and themes might evolve with the world or even seasonal events. During regional tax seasons, threat actors might similarly try to exploit users in the process of filing their taxes with phishing emails that contain tax themes in the subject line.