Rise in cybercrimes during COVID pandemic in Pune: MLA Tingre

Sunil Tingre Ajit Pawar
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Pune, June 28, 2020: Vadgaonsheri constituency MLA Sunil Tingre met Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar yesterday at the Council Hall and apprised him about the rising cybercrimes in Pune during this Covid-19 pandemic. He also met Home Minister Anil Deshmukh at Circuit House Pune and handed over a letter regarding the growing online financial cybercrimes in Corona’s lockdown.  


“I had been getting complaints of many online frauds cases of amount withdrawal from bank accounts without intimation. Gave some useful suggestions in the letter given by citizens working in IT companies”, Tingre said.


The letter states, “It is been observed that the numbers of online fraud cases are increasing gradually since the Covid19 lockdown began in March 2020. I have been getting many complaints of online frauds on phone, text messages, social media etc. Most of the complaints are from citizens working in IT Companies, BPO’s, Industrial offices. Fraud cases of the amount deducted from the bank savings accounts, debit cards, credit cards have increased. Online fraud cases are not investigated thoroughly and the amount is not refunded back to complainants. In most of the cases, police are not registering FIRs as the location (of crime) is out of Maharashtra state. 


I would like to bring your notice about the causes and prevention of these cases as below: Cases that have been noticed are as –


1) These attackers attacked with fake offers that Reliance Jio and Streaming services like Netflix Amazon were offering discounted offers. 


2) Phishing Attacks and Banking Frauds: During this pandemic, banks are operating with limited sources and people are advised to use Internet banking or Phone Banking to avail banking services. Cyber attackers taking advantage of this are making phishing calls or sending phishing emails or SMSes to bank customers pretending to be bank officials and asking them for sensitive information such as their account number, credit or debit card number,CVV,OTP etc. Cyber attackers are now targeting loan holders and contacting them on the pretext of discussing the postponement of their EMI payments and requesting them to share an OTP,CVV, password or PIN related to accounts to avail the moratorium of deferring payment facilities.


3) Spyware, Malware, Ransomware Virus Attacks: During this period of lockdown, people are accessing social media websites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. Also indulging in online games by installing various applications. In view of Stay Home Stay Safe notification people have become more dependent on various payment gateways to pay bills, premiums, recharge their mobile phone etc, which has opened the door for spyware and ransomware attacks. Spyware steals sensitive personal data while ransomware takes control over vital credentials of a person. These attacks may result in huge losses to people financially.  


Preventions Steps: These types of attacks can be prevented by 

1) Refraining from clicking on links or opening email attachments from non-reliable sources or sharing any sensitive information. 

2) Use secured apps and operating system to avoid spyware and ransomware attacks in correspondence with an updated antivirus. 

3) Secure mobile devices, computers and applications by installing antivirus systems to prevent sensitive data being lost. 


Most of the cases of getting phishing calls or sending phishing emails or SMSes to bank customers pretending to be bank officials and asking them for sensitive information such as their account number, credit or debit card number, CVV, OTP etc comes from other states of India. So in accordance with the above steps, with the help of Central Government of India Cyber Cell team, we should create awareness among the people by spreading the steps to avoid falling to these types of cyber attacks, and also get rid of these attackers so that no one thinks of such cybercrimes again. Also, I would like to request you to increase coordination with other states of India cyber cell department to reach and punish cyber criminals.”

Sunil Tingre Anil Deshmukh