Maharashtra cyber police issue advisory about ‘virtual kidnappings’Updated: Aug 01, 2020 23:14 IST
The state cyber police on Saturday issued an advisory to alert citizens about virtual kidnappings, a new modus operandi used by cyber fraudsters for ransom. As per the advisory, parents whose children are studying or staying abroad are targeted. “Eight such cases have been reported in the US and 15 in Australia this year. This could happen in India as well, and hence, we are alerting citizens about it,” Yashashvi Yadav, special inspector general of police (Cyber).
The gang calls children living abroad posing as security officers and tells them that their hostel or house is surrounded by attackers and asks them to switch off their phones. The fraudsters could also send a parcel to the child and later call them, posing as officials from their embassy, to inform that the parcel is linked to illegal activities. The fraudster then recommends the child to switch off the phone and go in hiding for some days. After that, fraudsters call parents and tell them their child has been kidnapped and demand ransom in cryptocurrency or wire transfers. Fraudsters use ‘DeepFakes’, fake videos or audio recordings of the child created using technology, to ensure that the act does not seem staged. As the parents are unable to contact their child, they pay the ransom.
The police requested citizens to be alert and not fall prey to such frauds, adding that if they find themselves in such a situation, they should first inform the local police and also check if the ‘kidnapping’ calls are actually from their child’s phone.