Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Since a large number of people are going digital these days, cyber fraudsters are using innovative ways to dupe vulnerable users. Many users are falling prey to scams that steal sensitive data and their hard-earned money.

Cybercrimes like phishing, malware, OTP frauds, fake UPI links have almost become the things of the past. As people have become gradually aware of these old tricks, cyber fraudsters are adopting newer tricks to rob people digitally.

Have you ever faced a situation when you insert your debit card in an ATM in an unguarded area and then your card gets stuck in the machine? If yes, you are under threat from the cyber fraudsters.

In a recent incident, Chinmay Kumar Sarangi from the Chandaka area of Bhubaneswar was targetted by cyber criminals. As per reports, Asad Ali and his gang had looted Sarangi by applying new tricks. On the basis of Sarangi’s complaint, Asad was arrested during the investigation into the incident. As many as 11 ATM cards and net cash amounting Rs 40,000 were seized from his possession. Police are trying to nab the other members of the gang.

As per police sources, the gang mainly targets ATMs located on the outskirts where there is less crowd. They fix a remote-controlled chip on the machine and put a fake customer care number near it. As a result, when the customer puts the ATM card in the machine, it gets locked. Taking advantage of the situation, the fraudsters come forward to help the customer. They ask the customer to call the fake customer care number. By keeping the customer engaged in the process, they remove the card by opening the machine lock with the remote. Subsequently, they replace the original chip in the card with a duplicate one and put it in the machine. When the customer goes away with the card having a duplicate chip, they put the original chip in another card and withdraw money from the account.

“The cyber fraudsters were using a remote control device and as a result, the ATM cards were getting locked in the machine. Then they were taking the original chip from the card and withdrawing money from the customer’s account,” said Bhubaneswar Zone-5 ACP, Goutam Kisan.

“Though people are being made aware of cyber fraudsters, the miscreants are adopting newer tricks. Hence, people need to be more careful,” said cyber expert, Lingaraj Sethi.

In another technique, cyber fraudsters are duping customers during online hotel bookings. Sameer Sarangi from Bhubaneswar fell victim to this new trick adopted by the fraudsters.

As per reports, Sameer found a number for booking a hotel after a Google search. However, the number belonged to a cyber fraudster. The fraudster convinced Sameer by posing as the manager of a hotel and took the OTP of his credit card. Subsequently, Rs 20,000 was allegedly withdrawn from his account.

“I got the number with the picture of a beautiful hotel while searching on Google. When I called the number, the person introduced him as the manager of the hotel. He told me to deposit a token money of Rs 500 to book a room. However, when I shared the OTP with him, Rs 20,000 was debited from my account,” rued Sameer.

Meanwhile, police are laying emphasis on spreading awareness among customers to keep them safe from cyber fraudsters.

“We are creating more and more awareness among people to keep them safe from fraudsters,” said Puri SP Pinak Mishra.