Chandigarh: The Digital Investigation Training and Analysis Centre (DITAC) of Punjab Police State Cyber Crime Cell on Saturday (July 25, 2020) warned the citizens not to click on a URL message being circulated via instant messaging services like SMS or WhatsApp which depicts the free COVID-19 relief package of Rs 2,000 given by the Government to each citizen. 

An official spokesperson of the Punjab Bureau of Investigation said that these kinds of phishing attacks could permit cybercriminals to assume control of the user’s device by logging into keystrokes, or access data and money related information, which could lead to emptying user’s bank account. 

The spokesperson added that the body of the message being circulated in social media is like – “The Government has finally approved and have started giving out free Rs 2,000 Relief Funds to each citizen. Below is how to claim and get yours credit instantly as I have just did now You can only claim and get credited once and it’s also limited so get your now instantly.”

He said once the user opens the page after clicking on the URL, it shows the congratulatory message – “Get free Rs 7,000 instantly to your bank account. Please complete the survey to avail free lockdown relief funds.” 

Along with the congratulatory message, there is a question asking that are you a bonafide Indian citizen? After answering the questions, it is observed that the link actually contains a questionnaire asking about your several other details such as “How much can sustain you throughout their login?  What will you use free Rs 7000 for?” 

After that, the user will receive a congratulatory message of getting Rs 7,000 along with a link for sharing the message to other groups and contacts.

The Bureau has urged the people to remain extremely cautious in this regard and not to click on suspicious URL links on social media platforms.  

“If anyone comes across any such message, through any social media platform, don’t forward it to others but delete it immediately. Clicking on such links pose high risks because it could be malware which could redirect you to other fraudulent sites that may lead to financial loss to the user”, he cautioned.

The spokesperson also exhorted the public not to forward any news or links without verifying the authenticity and verify whether any official announcement been made about the same on the genuine website.

“Any information in this regard or any other cyber crime can be shared with the State Cyber Crime Investigation Centre on email ID to enable the department to take suitable legal action against the criminals indulging in such fraudulent acts,” he added.

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