Don’t Be Fooled: 3 Shocking Online Scams Exposed & How to Fight Back

Are you worried about staying safe from online scams in the digital world? Wondering how to keep your personal information secure from tricky fraudsters?

Are you worried about staying safe from online scams in the digital world? Wondering how to keep your personal information secure from tricky fraudsters?

In this blog, we’ll delve into the top online scams currently happening in India — the IT Return Scam, AI Deepfake Scam, and Courier Scam, and how to safeguard from fraudsters.

A blue jacket person holding mobile phone
Image Source: Person holding mobile Photo by Thom Holmes on Unsplash

An IT refund scam that taxpayers should be aware of How to avoid becoming a victim?

Scammers exploit taxpayers by sending fake refund notifications. These scams aim to trick individuals into disclosing personal information. Stay informed to avoid falling victim to this fraudulent activity.

Beware of Fake Refund Notifications

Receiving a refund notification for a substantial amount might raise excitement, but be cautious. Scammers often send deceptive messages requiring users to verify or update their bank account details. Refrain from responding to such messages, as they are likely fraudulent.

Image Source: MoneyLife
Image Souce: Aura
Image Source: Twitter

The Danger of Falling Victims

The Income Tax Department has issued a warning about online scams involving tax refund claims. In many cases, these scams redirect victims to fake Income Tax Department websites. Clicking on these links can lead to identity theft and financial losses.

Image Source: Indian Express
Image Source: Federal Trade Commission

Here’s how the scam operates:

False representation: Scammers pose as Income Tax Department officials and send fake messages to taxpayers.

Fake Website Link: The messages contain links that direct taxpayers to fraudulent Income Tax Department websites.

Personal Information Request: Taxpayers are prompted to provide personal details like PAN numbers, Aadhaar numbers, and bank account information on these counterfeit websites.

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Exploitation: Scammers exploit the provided personal information to steal money from the victims.

The Income Tax Department’s Response

The Income Tax Department clarifies that it never sends messages containing URLs. Avoid clicking on links in emails that claim to be from the Income Tax Department and offer tax refunds. Check your refund status directly on the official Income Tax Department website.

Image Source: Message on Mobile Photo by Andrej Lišakov on Unsplash

Preventive Measures To safeguard Yourself:

Avoid Unsolicited Links: Refrain from clicking on links in unsolicited messages. Always visit the official Income Tax Department website to check your refund status.

Handle Personal Information with Caution: The Income Tax Department never requests bank account, PAN, or Aadhaar details through email or SMS. Treat such messages as scams.

Rely on Official Websites Only: Use only authenticated websites. Verify the legitimacy of a website by checking its URL.

Responding to Fake IT Messages

If you receive a fake IT message:

☑️ Do not open the provided links or download the associated content.

☑️ Do not reply to the messages.

☑️ Never share sensitive information like bank account details, passwords, or OTPs.

☑️ Forward suspicious emails or website URLs to [email protected].

Additional Resources

Protect yourself further with these resources

Official Income Tax Department website

National Cybercrime Reporting Portal

Send suspicious communications to [email protected].

Stay vigilant and informed to protect yourself from tax refund scams. Be wary of unsolicited messages, avoid sharing personal information, and rely only on official sources. By following these precautions, you can safeguard your finances and personal data from scams.

AI Scam Alert! How to avoid being scammed by deep fake technologies and fake video calls

Deep Fake Technology Scam

Fraudsters use deepfake technology to create compelling and realistic fake content, often manipulating audio, video, and images using artificial intelligence.

Image Source: Rexxfield

The Growing Threat of Cyberscams in the Digital Age

As the digital world continues to grow and develop, cyberscams and frauds are also keeping pace and increasing with the technology as well as keeping up with the world’s expansion. Since artificial intelligence (AI) is the latest craze in tech, fraudsters are finding new ways to exploit it.

Recent Instances of Deepfake Scams

  • Kerala man loses 40,000 rupees as a result of a deep fake scam.
  • An AI-driven video call scam in China cost a man over Rs.5 crore after a scammer posing as a friend used deep fake technology. Through the use of artificial intelligence-powered face-swapping technology, the scammer convinced the victim to transfer 4.3 million yuan.

Fake Scams: How Do They Work?

  • An AI-based deep fake call uses artificial intelligence to create fake audio or video recordings of people. Scammers can use this type of call to trick victims into giving away their personal information or money.
  • A deepfake can be described as the 21st century’s version of photoshopping. Using deep learning, deepfakes create images of fake events, hence the name deepfakes.
  • It is possible to create convincing but entirely fictional photos and videos using deepfake technology. In addition to voice skins, audio can also be deeply faked to create clones of anyone’s voice.
Image Source: SEON

Identifying and Preventing Deepfake Scams

Therefore, the question arises of how to identify a fake video call. You can skirt these issues with fake contacts, fake names, unusual backgrounds, etc. Watch out for these signs of a fake video call.

1) Quality of video: It is generally observed that fake videos are poor quality. You should always check for watermarks or other signs that the video is fake since it comes from the internet.

2)Contact Information: It is important to check if the person calling you is on your contact list or if the name means anything to you before answering their call. It is also important to double-check that the contact name appearing on the video call is correct, as well as their contact information.

(3) Video sizing: If someone makes a fake video call, resize the video to fit the webcam window. As a result of this action, the video proportions can be distorted, and it may appear distorted when played.

AI-based online scams are rising in India, so individuals should remain vigilant during video or voice calls. 83 percent of Indians lost their money in such fraudulent activities, according to a recent study.

Image Source: Spice Works

Safeguarding Against Deepfake Scams

✅What to do in a Deepfakes scam?

☑️Stay Informed: People should stay informed about the latest scams, including those involving AI technology, and be cautious when receiving video calls from unexpected sources.”

☑️Caller Verification: Make a phone when receiving a video call from someone claiming to be a friend or family member.

A new courier scam costs Indians lakhs: What is happening, and how can we protect ourselves?

The scam involves Individuals imitating courier executives, and CBI personnel are involved in the scam. They contact victims and falsely report that an illegal package was seized at the airport. Following that, they demand payment from the victims.

Courier Scams

A Ph.D. student at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru submitted a police report about a scam. According to a report by the Indian Express, the student lost Rs 1,34,650 after receiving a call from an individual posing as a FedEx employee.

In another observed case, an IT professional from Mumbai fell victim to cyber fraudsters posing as narcotics department personnel. The fraud cost the woman Rs. 1.97 lacks. Similarly, a doctor from Delhi lost about Rs 4.47 crore in a similar scam a few weeks ago.

The CEO’s Revelation

On June 23, Nithin Kamath, the founder and CEO of financial services firm Zerodha, highlighted a similar case on social media.

What is a courier scam?

Cyber fraudsters target young people with this new courier scam, causing worry and distress. They ask the victims to join a Skype call, where they impersonate officers from the narcotics department, and then ask the victims to transfer money.

As part of the scam, the scammers ask the victim to transfer money, assuring them that it will be refunded. As soon as the victim sends the money, the scammers cut off all contact, leaving them helpless to recover their money.

Video Source: Ajey Talks

Safeguarding Against the Courier Scam

Being aware is the key to avoiding a courier scam or any other internet scam.

Here are five things you should keep in mind to prevent and stay safe from such scams:

Be Cautious: It is important to be aware of calls or messages claiming to be from courier services or law enforcement agencies.

Verify Directly: Verify the information with an official source. Whenever you receive suspicious communication, contact the courier company directly to verify the information.

Guard Sensitive Data: Avoid sharing sensitive information, such as your Aadhaar number or bank account information, over the phone or via unfamiliar websites.

Be patient: Take your time before taking action. Scammers often use urgency and panic to manipulate victims into making hasty decisions. If you need clarification on something, consult a trusted individual before purchasing or sharing personal information.

Consider the Unexpected: A courier parcel or an unexpected package you receive by phone or message, especially if you weren’t expecting it, should be approached with skepticism. Before acting on any information, verify its legitimacy through reliable channels.

Fraudulent cyber activity

How to report it?

The most important thing you should do is report any courier scam or cyber fraud to your local police department. The cybercrime complaint number is 155260, or you can file a complaint at cybercrime.gov.in.

Guarding Against Courier Scams: Essential Safety Measures

Image Source: Courier delivery Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

☑️ Courier companies directly send the OTP to your mobile number since it is registered. So they should not be asking for your number.

☑️ Be aware of the orders you have placed on different shopping platforms and the payment methods used so that you know what doesn’t belong to you.

☑️ Plus, Read from where the message is coming, and it’s not difficult to know if it’s fake. Just patiently read it before reacting to it.

In the digital world, safety comes first. Stay updated about scams, verify sources, and keep your info safe to stay strong against online threats. Stay watchful and careful, and you’ll move through the digital landscape confidently and securely.

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About the Author

Sanjeetha chinthala

Meet Sanjeetha Chinthala, a skilled freelancer and digital marketing consultant with 12 years of freelance experience. Holding an MCA postgraduate degree, she excels at creating captivating content that yields impressive results. When not working, she read more...

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