Guwahatians Defrauded While Using UPI Based Google Pay For Transactions

Guwahatians Defrauded While Using UPI Based Google Pay For Transactions

Nehal Jain | October 26, 2019 12:46 hrs

GUWAHATI: Fraudsters have been using new tactics using Unified Payments Interface (UPI) applications such as Google Pay to steal money. Three cases have been reported in Guwahati, while five people have fallen prey to such theft. 

Cyber criminals have found a new way to trap people, hack into their accounts and dupe them off their money. A relatively new kind of cyber theft via UPI (Unified Payments Interface) applications is coming to light in Guwahati. The rising popularity of such applications is giving way for newer ways of crime using cyber space.

A senior official of the crime branch has confirmed that thefts of this nature have been reported in the city in the past week. While two such cases have been registered at the Paltan Bazar police station, another case of the same nature has been registered at the Dispur police station. 

In total, five citizens from different parts of Guwahati have fallen prey to such cyber thefts and the common application used has been confirmed to be GooglePay.

In one of the cases registered at Paltan Bazar police station, a total of three Guwahatians have been defrauded in similar ways. The victims had made their booking on Blue Dart and due to some error/delay in the delivery; they called the customer care number provided on Google. However, the number belonged to cyber criminals who succeeded in duping two of these three individuals of Rs 12,500 and Rs 9,500 respectively. 

A case (1202/19) was thus registered under Section 406/419/420/379 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) added with Section 66 of the IT Act.

In the remaining two cases, victims were defrauded after they called the customer care number provided in Google under the name of Bajaj Dealers in Guwahati. While one victim was duped off Rs 50,000, another was duped off Rs 45,000. 

“I request the citizens to be aware and not fall into such traps. Before transacting via any online or mobile based application, try to know all its features in order to avoid being duped,” expressed Deepak Kumar, Commissioner, Guwahati City Police.

Police are currently investigating with the help of cyber cell and are trying to nab the culprits.

Modus Operandi:

Cyber criminals have updated their contact numbers on Google.

When Vikas Pandey tried to search for customer care number of Bajaj Dealers in Guwahati on, he found a fake number and called that number.

Pandey wished to book a bike and was thus enquiring about the process. The fraudster informed him that he only had to fill an online form and pay Rs 5 for booking, after which he could collect the bike from the showroom.

The fraudster then sent the man a link to be clicked on his phone.

As soon as he clicked on the link, filled in the necessary details and made a payment of Rs 5 via GooglePay, the man found that Rs 9,999 was transferred from his bank account, which was linked with GooglePay, five times at a go.

He then registered a case (1220/19) at Paltan Bazar police station.

It should be noted that the link provided by such fraudsters is generated by them to take all the necessary information from the victim. Once the customers make the payment via Google Pay, criminals use the URL of the customers and their phone number to loot into their bank accounts. 

In total, five citizens from different parts of Guwahati have fallen prey to such cyber thefts and the common application used has been confirmed to be Google Pay.

Assam: Cyber crimes on the rise

The state of Assam has seen a drastic rise in crimes over the years, especially in the capital city. The latest annual crime data, "Crime in India-2017", released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on Monday revealed that Assam recorded a sharply higher number of cybercrimes in comparison to other states of the northeast, with a total of 1,120 reported cases in 2017.

According to the report, sexual exploitation and personal revenge have been noted as the two most focused motives behind cyber attacks in Assam.

Statistics given by the state CID on this front depicts the enormity of the menace. According to a highly placed source in the CID, Assam witnessed 696 cybercrime-related cases in 2016, and the number almost doubled to 1,120 in 2017. The number of such cases kept rising, and it was 1,517 in 2018. Cybercrime-related cases in just six months till June in 2019 are 1,106. 

“The prime reason behind such a sharp rise in cybercrimes in Assam is that the state – particularly Guwahati — is the hub of many sectors like medical, education, finance, industry etc in the region,” informed the source.

Hackers, according to sources, continue to evolve newer tactics with the advent of newer technologies. Unlike other cities and countries where bigger institutions like banks are the main targets of fraudsters, in Assam, individuals are targeted more often. 

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