Beware of digital impersonators: MHA issues cyber crime alert | Fusion - WeRIndia

Beware of digital impersonators: MHA issues cyber crime alert

Beware of digital impersonators: MHA issues cyber crime alert

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recently issued a stark warning against the growing menace of cyber criminals who are exploiting the identity of government officials to commit blackmail and what is being termed as “digital arrest.”

These impersonators claiming to be from reputable agencies such as the NCB, CBI, RBI, and various police forces, are coercing unsuspecting individuals into parting with substantial sums of money.

According to the MHA, a worrying number of complaints have been registered on the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (NCRP). 

These involve instances of intimidation and extortion where the criminals contact victims, alleging involvement with illegal parcels or criminal activities supposedly linked to them or their loved ones. 

The fraudsters are known to demand money to “settle” these fabricated cases. The criminals often enhance their deceit by conducting what they call a digital arrest, where victims are required to stay continuously visible on video conferencing platforms like Skype until the demanded ransom is paid. 

Adding to the sophistication of their scheme, these perpetrators operate from setups designed to mimic police stations and don government-like uniforms to appear legitimate.

This rampant cyber extortion has led to significant financial losses across the country, pointing to the operations being highly organized and even linked to cross-border crime syndicates. 

In response, the MHA’s Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) is actively working alongside various ministries and the RBI to dismantle these networks. 

The I4C has made headway by blocking over 1,000 Skype IDs and collaborating with companies like Microsoft to intercept the communication channels used by these criminals. 

Additionally, measures to block SIM cards and mobile devices involved in such scams are underway.

Furthermore, the I4C is engaged in a public awareness campaign through its social media handle Cyberdost, where it shares informative graphics and videos to educate the public on these frauds.

The MHA strongly advises the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious contact immediately to the cybercrime helpline number 1930 or the official website. 

By spreading awareness and promoting swift reporting of these crimes, the Ministry aims to curb the prevalence of this cyber threat effectively.

Image Credit:, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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