Fraudsters make a killing as e-com sites announce special offers

The Telangana State Cyber Security Bureau has received numerous reports of cyberattacks, with a significant number of these being attempts at fraud.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

HYDERABAD: With the festive season approaching, online shopping platforms are announcing special offers and discounts to entice consumers. However, this festive season has also turned into an opportunity for fraudsters, who are actively working to exploit the enthusiasm of shoppers.

Platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Nykaa and Ajio are rolling out a plethora of discounts and deals in anticipation of festivals such as Dasara, Diwali, Christmas and New Year’s. These discounts often range from 10% to 90% on a variety of products and accessories. Promotional events like the Great Indian Festival on Amazon, the Big Fashion Festival on Myntra, and the Big Billion Days on Flipkart were live in the first and second weeks of October. However, on the flip side, cybercriminals are deploying phishing emails and duplicate websites to deceive unsuspecting consumers.

An inspector with the Telangana State Cyber Security Bureau (TSCSB) said, “This is the season when fraudsters are particularly active because the high volume of sales due to the enticing offers presents them with numerous opportunities. Mobile users must exercise caution and avoid opening any phishing emails or clicking on suspicious links received via email or messages promising additional offers. It’s important to be vigilant and refrain from clicking on links that claim you’ve won a lucky draw or ask you to click on a link to enter a lucky draw with enticing prizes.”

The allure of discounts and offers is irresistible to avid shoppers, but it also attracts cybercriminals. The TSCSB has received numerous reports of cyberattacks, with a significant number of these being attempts at fraud. These incidents range from the creation of fake websites and links to providing fraudulent service centre contact information, all orchestrated by fraudsters. However, officials said that with awareness being spread, the 1930 toll-free portal receives close to 70 calls each day.

A senior TSCSB official said, “We’ve seen a rise in cyber complaints during the festive season, with victims suffering financial losses when making online purchases. Companies like Flipkart and Amazon are enticing customers with deals on their products through their websites and applications, and opportunistic fraudsters are taking advantage of these promotions to deceive unsuspecting individuals.”

Several cyber divisions of city commissionerates are conducting awareness programmes within their respective jurisdictions to educate the public and prevent these crimes. This apart, the State police and public volunteers are actively sharing awareness posters within their WhatsApp groups to combat this type of crime.

Fight against cyber fraud

  • Be cautious of suspicious links that resemble legitimate applications and are often shared on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Always exercise caution when encountering such links.
  • If you fall victim to a financial loss due to a cyberattack, report the incident promptly to 1930 or visit to prevent further crimes and potentially recover your funds.
  • In the event of a cyberattack attempt, victims can report it to the TSCSB Fraud Registry via WhatsApp at 871-267-2222.
  • Actively share awareness posters and videos about cybercrime prevention on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
  • Access Flipkart or Amazon by visiting their official websites to ensure the safety of online shopping experiences during this festive season.

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The New Indian Express