Ever received a message from your electricity distributor that you haven’t paid your last electricity bill and hence your connection will be cut within 24 hours if you don’t call them and make the payment immediately? Are you also thinking when did the power discoms become so proactive and innovative? Yes, you guessed it right. This is the second type of cyber crime and we shall be discussing it in detail in this blog.
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Electricity distributor cyber crimes
The cyber criminals send you either an SMS or a WhatsApp message informing that your last bill was not paid/not updated, hence your electricity/cell phone connection will be cut by 9:30 PM the same day, unless you call them at a mobile number given in the SMS.
How does this fraud function?
This fraud is operated in two different ways:
- One where, if you call on that number or chat with them on WhatsApp, they will quote random amounts to you for making payment towards your utility bill and share bank account details for making the payment. But be alert, as the utility provider will never accept payment in a private bank account.
If you make the payment on your own, the amount is gone for good. The criminals will immediately either withdraw the amount in cash or transfer the money to a different bank account. Post that they will call you back and either deny receiving the amount or tell you to make another payment of a higher amount.
- Second where, the cyber criminals ask you to install a screen sharing app through which they can gain remote access of your device. Examples of such apps are AnyDesk, TemViewer & Quick Support. After gaining remote access to your phone, they can access any app on it and all OTPs received by you, hence they will drain your linked bank accounts of every penny within a few seconds.
Please realise that no power discom is going to “WhatsApp” you or message you from a private number to make the payment, that too within a few hours. If you think it is a genuine case, make payment through their website or over the counter at the electricity company’s office.
If you fall prey to such a fraud, you must
- Reach out to your bank immediately and mention the entire case to them. The Branch Manager can request the receiving bank to initiate a lien on the amount in the account of the cyber fraudster.
- Immediately report the fraud at the cyber crime helpline number – 1930 and fill all details such as the bank account details, transaction number, etc., on the cyber crime website www.cybercrime.gov.in
- The faster you report, higher the chances of you getting your money back.
Please follow up with your local police station and cyber crime authorities so they register an FIR as soon as possible and begin investigating the case. In a lot of cases, the police dilly dallies converting your complaint into an FIR which slows down the investigation and chances of recovering the amount reduces over time.