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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 April 2024

Cyber police warn Delhiites as city sees spike in cases of 'digital house arrest'

The fraudsters then virtually restrain the victims from moving out of the house and coerce them into paying them money

PTI New Delhi Published 01.03.24, 08:03 PM
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Representational Image File photo

Cyber crooks are now adopting a new modus operandi called 'digital house arrest', causing serious concern for Delhi Police with over 200 such cases recorded every month in the national capital, officials said.

According to a police officer, 'digital house arrest' refers to a fraud where impostors impersonating law enforcement officers deceive the victims into believing that their bank account, SIM card, Aadhaar card, or other cards linked to their bank account has been used unlawfully.

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The fraudsters then virtually restrain the victims from moving out of the house and coerce them into paying them money, the officer said.

"Digital house arrest has become a major concern nowadays. However, our special unit only investigates those cases where the cheated amount is above Rs 50 lakh," a senior police officer of the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit of Delhi Police said.

The officer said such 'cyber thugs' are technically sound and know how to convince their targets and drain their hard-earned money.

According to the report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), cases of cybercrime in the national capital nearly doubled in 2022.

The number of such cases rose from 345 in 2021 to 685 cases in 2022, NCRB's comprehensive crime data for 2022 showed.

In 2020, the count was much lower with only 166 cybercrime cases, it added.

Giving an example of a recent case, the officer said, "A man was getting ready for his office on December 30, last year when he got a call at around 8.43 am. The caller took his name and said he was speaking from the Crime Branch of Mumbai. He told the victim that his Aadhar card was used to transport drugs in some courier packages which were seized by the crime branch." The accused also started interrogating him, which created fear in the mind of the victim. They also asked the victim to not move out of his house for around 8 hours during the "questioning", the officer said.

"The victim had told police that he heard some voices coming from behind which were voices similar to wireless radio transmission of police. Later the accused asked him to download a Skype application and remote access to the desktop. A man appeared before him wearing a cop dress, interrogated him for hours, and asked the victim to show his bank account details to see if he had received any 'foreign funds'. Meanwhile, they hacked his system and drained his account completely," said the officer.

The complainant later lodged an FIR and police are further investigating the matter.

Another police officer said several such cases are being registered in the national capital region of late with over 200 registered every month.

These fraudsters use translation tools for better English to send threatening letters and forge letterheads of police departments. They usually procure Aadhar cards from other sources, the officer said.

"They usually target old people. In such situations, the victims must immediately call the police helpline numbers to report the matter and to get help," said the officer.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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