BENGALURU: Do you have online payment apps linked to your bank account? Have you received any messages in these apps from ‘friends’ seeking help under various pretexts? It could be a trap, considering the new methods employed by cybercriminals.
The new mode of cheating came to light following a complaint by a resident of the city, Ankur Kumar. According to it, people in his friends' list were sent messages by an unknown person, claiming that his father had met with an accident and was in immediate need of assistance.
Believing that their friend was seeking help, few of his friends transferred the amount. However, it was only after one of his friends called to check on his father’s health, did he realise that an unknown person had swindled money.
Speaking to TNIE, Ankur, a techie working in a private firm said that he suspected that the fraudster was one of the persons in his Facebook friends list. “After sending me a friend request, he got access to all my photos and created an identical profile. He then sent requests to all the people in my friends list,” he said.
The unknown fraudster then started requesting people in Ankur’s friend list to transfer money for his father.
“He sent requests using the Messenger to transfer money via Google Pay,” he said.
Ankur had to alert his friends that these requests were being sent from a fake account. He then took to social media, to post a complaint with the Bengaluru City Police. His friends who had been cheated are yet to file a complaint.
“As more people are in online payment apps, which is indirectly linked to your social media sites, it becomes easier for them to lure people into paying cash using such emotional tactics,” said a source in Cyber Crime Police Station.
How it works
An unknown person sends you a friend request on Facebook.
The person downloads your data and creates a fake account in your name and adds your friends.
Your friend’s names show up in payment apps as phone numbers are linked with Facebook or Messenger.
The fraudster sends out messages asking for money under some urgent pretext.
Unsuspecting friends transfer the money through the payment apps.