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Indian Cybercrime Team Warns WhatsApp Users Against Potential Scam Calls With International Numbers

Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre has saved over Rs. 12 crore of cybercrime victims over the years.

Indian Cybercrime Team Warns WhatsApp Users Against Potential Scam Calls With International Numbers

Photo Credit: Bloomberg

WhatsApp users should report and block numbers like +254, +84, +63

  • Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre has circulated the alert
  • These international numbers have "Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia" origin
  • They are said to be used to steal financial data

Are you getting missed calls, messages or calls on WhatsApp from numbers starting with +254, +84, +63 or other international numbers? "Report and block", say experts.

The alert is being circulated by Home Ministry's Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C) so that innocent people do not become victims of cybercrime.

Experts in data analysis and forensics, who are working relentlessly for the government to curb the menace, told ANI that such international numbers have "Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia" origin and unscrupulous elements could steal financial data.

"This is a new cybercrime trend. People across India irrespective of their profession have been receiving calls and missed calls on WhatsApp from +254, +84, +63, +1(218) or other international numbers, and some of them have become victims of cybercrime. It has become more frequent," an expert in cyber intelligence and digital forensics told ANI on condition of anonymity.

Another expert in cyber intelligence and digital forensics, who works with the government, suggested that people should "report and block numbers like +254, +84, +63 or other international numbers if there is missed call alert or calls on WhatsApp."

"Cyber awareness and hygiene are one of the important aspects in policing and it is a much-appreciated initiative," the official added.

As per experts, these calls and alerts are made or sent by unscrupulous elements at any time.

"From early morning between 6 am to 7 am or late in the night, such calls are being received by people from all groups whether he or she is a private employee, businessman, retired government officer or even school and college boy or girl. We need to be just aware of such calls."

A message received from number starting with +243 said: "Hello, my name is Allena, may I take a few minutes of your time?"

"Now that the 5G era of the Internet has arrived, there are already many people who make money through the Internet. I believe you know it too. I must be added to make money. If you don't speak, you may miss an opportunity at a turning point in your life. There are not many opportunities. I hope you see and then respond to my message," the message said.

If a person or organisation faces cyber-attack, the matter can be reported on the cybercrime.gov.in website, the experts said, adding "a focussed work is being done with the help of I4C to curb cyber menace by the central agencies".

Union Home Minister Amit Shah reviewed the functioning of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre(I4C) in March and said that the wing is working for realising Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of a cyber-success society.

He further said that the I4C is enabling effective and seamless coordination among all agencies and states in the battle against cybercrimes.

Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, a "special purpose unit" of the Centre, has saved over Rs 12 crore of cybercrime victims over the years since its inception in 2018.

I4C has a dedicated 'Cyber Citizen, Cyber Fraud Reporting and Management System'.

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