Cyber Security Expert Warns of Rise in “Digital Arrest” Scams

by Ashis Sinha

In a disturbing trend, cybercriminals have unleashed a new wave of digital crime known as “digital arrest,” where unsuspecting victims are deceived into believing they are facing legal repercussions by impersonating government officials.

Cyber Security Expert Deepak Kumar has highlighted a concerning absence of legal provisions allowing investigative agencies to conduct arrests via video calls, debunking the fraudulent claims made by these scammers.

“What is particularly alarming is that these incidents are no longer isolated to individuals who may be less educated or unaware. Even those who are well-educated and vigilant are falling victim to these scams,” Kumar noted.

Victims are typically targeted with intimidating phone calls, claiming they are involved in serious crimes such as human trafficking, with multiple accounts allegedly linked to their Aadhaar.

Callers may also assert that the victim’s SIM card is tied to terrorist activities or money laundering. In some cases, the scammers even threaten to file a First Information Report (FIR) against the victim, claiming a parcel is linked to their Aadhaar. The scammers demand that victims remain under video call surveillance for an extended period, often around 17 days.

Despite the alarming threats, it is crucial for individuals to recognise that these calls are fraudulent, with the callers impersonating law enforcement officers. Regrettably, many individuals have been deceived by these tactics, resulting in substantial payments to avoid fictitious consequences. This form of cyber fraud has led to losses amounting to crores of rupees across the country.

The modus operandi of digital arrest involves fraudsters posing as law enforcement officers and leveraging fear tactics by alleging the victim’s involvement in criminal activities using their Aadhaar card, SIM card, ATM card, or bank account. This fear is then exploited to extort money from the victims.

To protect against falling victim to digital arrest, Kumar advises the public to take precautionary measures, such as safeguarding personal documents and information, ignoring suspicious calls or emails, verifying the identity of individuals before transactions, and documenting any threatening calls or emails as evidence in case of a complaint.

Kumar emphasizes the importance of raising awareness about digital arrest and urges individuals who suspect fraudulent activity to report it promptly to the nearest police station.

Key precautions include being vigilant against phishing attempts, protecting devices with reliable antivirus software, and using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to enhance privacy, he said.

Cybercriminals and fraudsters often exploit fear as a potent tool to manipulate people and exploit their vulnerabilities for illicit gains in the realms of cybercrime and financial fraud. To shield themselves against the stealthy threat of digital arrest, internet users must navigate the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape with collective knowledge, informed practices, and robust cybersecurity measures, said Deepak.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *