Online and financial scams are on the rise in India, with many people falling victim to these sophisticated schemes all over the nation. There have been reports in recent months of people losing large sums of money—sometimes up to lakhs or even crores—to internet scammers. The Indian government has responded decisively to this growing threat by blocking 70 lakh mobile numbers that are allegedly connected to financial fraud or cybercrime.
This action is consistent with other proactive measures the government is thinking of taking to reduce fraud. The IMEI, a mobile device’s unique identification, is being blocked as part of these efforts, and withdrawals from accounts marked as suspicious are restricted.
Financial Services Secretary Vivek Joshi brought up the vulnerability of “dormant” and “mule” bank accounts during a recent meeting with representatives from the IT ministry, RBI, TRAI, and NPCI. These accounts have been identified as possible targets for countermeasures in the ongoing effort to combat the growing threat of cyber fraud in the financial sector. These accounts are characterized by low balances and sudden surges in activity, according to PTI.
During the meeting, it was noted that, according to reports from digital intelligence platforms, 7 million mobile connections linked to financial fraud or cybercrime have already been deactivated. In addition, the report says that there will be more meetings of this kind; the speaker says that the next one is scheduled for January.
How to keep your phone number safe
- Sim Swapping: Sim swapping is the practice of con artists getting your mobile provider to transfer your phone number to a new SIM card that they own. Social engineering or taking advantage of holes in the carrier’s security protocols can be used to accomplish this. Once they have your phone number, they can use it to reset passwords and access your accounts without authorization. It is advisable to set up a PIN or password with your mobile carrier to authenticate any changes to your SIM card in order to prevent sim swapping.
- Phishing Messages and Links: Exercise caution when replying to messages or clicking on links, especially if they appear to be from reputable sources like your bank or government agencies. Phishing attempts frequently use false messages to fool people into disclosing private information, like login passwords or personal information. Never respond to a message without first making sure it’s legitimate, and never send sensitive information over unprotected channels.
- WhatsApp Messages: Because messaging apps like WhatsApp are so widely used, scammers frequently take advantage of this platform to trick users. They might send you messages asking you to click on a link or divulge private information while posing as a friend or reliable source. Make sure you know who sent the message and don’t respond to any dubious ones. To further increase security, turn on two-factor authentication in your messaging apps.
- Secure Your Personal Information: It’s critical to protect your personal data. Steer clear of messaging or calling people who are sharing private information, like PINs or passwords. Be careful what you post on social media, as con artists can create believable phishing attempts by using data that is readily available to the public.
- Regularly Check Your Accounts: Pay special attention to your mobile bills, bank statements, and other financial accounts. Report any suspicious activity right away to the relevant service provider if you see it. Prompt action can aid in reducing possible harm.