Oct 03, 2023 394 views

Beware of the puja parcel scam: Stay Alert and Stay Safe!

Category: Blog

Imagine the excitement of receiving a gift; that feeling of anticipation and joy. Who does not like to get a gift? Gifts have a way of making us feel special and appreciated. However, what if that gift turns out to be a catalyst for trouble? What if it leads to a significant financial loss or even worse the destruction of your dignity? Such a scam has recently emerged in Kolkata, India, where women from various backgrounds such as teachers and lawyers have fallen victim to extortion calls from cyber-criminals. This scam capitalizes on people’s trust, vulnerability, and lack of awareness making it important for everyone to remain vigilant and informed.

Victims first receive a gift from an unknown sender. Then they receive a call that confirms whether they have received the gift. When they try to uncover the sender’s identity, a second call comes in allegedly from a representative of the law enforcement agencies. The fraudsters claim that narcotics/illegal substances have been discovered within the delivered parcel. Exploiting the victims’ social stature, the caller then suggests that a financial settlement can resolve the case swiftly. To lend credibility to their coercive tactics, these fraudsters even present false documentation incorporating police and court logos. At least two victims have succumbed to the pressure and ended up paying sums exceeding 50,000 Indian rupees. Despite complying with the extortionists’ demands, the victims continue to get harassed and have been threatened not to disclose this to anyone.

 

[“You may receive calls from someone posing as an official of enforcement agencies. You will be informed that a parcel that contains suspicious objects has been intercepted with your name on it. You will be asked to download video-calling app and shown a parcel. The callers will even send fake documents with government seals. You will then be asked to fill an online form by using a link or download remote control apps and send a token amount of money to resolve the problem. Thus, the fraudsters gain control of your bank account.”] –Kolkata police has warned.

Recognizing the Warning Signs:

  1. Be wary of unexpected gift deliveries.
  2. Pay particular attention to any calls claiming to be from law enforcement agencies or government officials. Always verify their identities before divulging any personal information.
  3. Be cautious if the caller attempts to intimidate or coerce you into taking immediate action or making payments.
  4. Legitimate law enforcement agencies or government officials will never ask for your financial details over the phone.
  5. Remember staying informed and cautious is vital in safeguarding yourself against cyber extortion and other criminal activities.

 

Protective Measures: Here are some measures you can implement to protect yourself:

  1. Be cautious with personal information: Avoid sharing sensitive personal details including financial information over the phone or online unless you are absolutely certain about the legitimacy of the request.
  2. Verify callers’ identities: When receiving calls from unknown sources regarding sensitive matters ask for the personal identity details. Make sure to validate their claims by contacting the relevant agency or department directly.
  3.  Educate yourself and others: Stay informed about the latest         scams and fraud tactics prevalent in your area by visiting your city police website or BoloGrahak website/app. Share such information with friends, family, and colleagues to create awareness and prevent others from becoming victims.
  4. Report suspicious activities: If you receive any suspicious calls or encounter attempts at extortion, promptly report them to the local law enforcement.

Stay alert, Stay informed, and stay safe!

Source: Times of india

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