Guwahati: A cyber criminals’ racket has been giving Assam Police sleepless nights even during the lockdown. Though the state has seen a dip in numbers of regular cases of theft and burglary, this bunch of cyber criminals have been constantly posing as a major challenge for the state police.
Pretending as state government’s COVID helpline (104)’s volunteers, these unknown criminals have been allegedly making calls to many people asking for their bank details with promises of government financial help. Once the information was shared, they would take no time in swindling all their money.
Earlier, state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had urged the people who were either stranded or turned jobless to dial 104 and register themselves to receive financial aid. The state government has also expensed several crores of rupees to provide temporary relief to over 4 lakh people already.
An investigation has found that these “fake” callers and agents were asking the bank details or the PIN numbers from the people in many cases.
Assam Police sources said, “Cyber criminals are sending malicious emails and messages under the pretext of free COVID19 testing to steal personal information also. We want public to delete such emails or messages immediately and to never click on suspicious links or attachments.”
Since March 25, when the first lockdown began till Sunday, Assam Police have registered at least 97 cases which also included cases of fake social media posts or rumour mongering over COVID19 on internet.
“At least 51 people were arrested so far and out of which some 12 were released on bail already. In many cases were the accused was a juvenile or minor, police have also counseled with their parents and the accused,” an Assam Police senior official added.
State health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “Our volunteers don’t ask for any PIN number or OTP. So, I request the public not to share such information.”
Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has too asked the state police not to lower its guard at any cost. Sonowal also directed city police to keep a close watch on cases like theft and robbery and drug peddling.