Online frauds are on the rise and many people lose hard-earned money to these frauds each day. According to the Vizag cybercrime police, many online fraud cases amounting to a total of Rs 30 Lakh have been reported since January 2019, just in Visakhapatnam alone. Most of the cases reported by customers have taken place due to fake customer care numbers edited on Google by cybercriminals.
As many people had lost money to fake customer care numbers on Google, the Vizag Cyber Crime Investigation Cell had issued a notice to Google, alerting them of legal action, if they fail to send a representative before the specified date in connection with cybercrime cases based on Google search.
Three months ago the cybercrime cell had sent a notice to Google asking them to take requisite action to make sure fake customer numbers are removed from the Google search engine to stop frauds.
To cheat users, fraudsters are replacing the original phone numbers of the banks, shops or any other establishment by editing the contact details on Google Maps. They post contact details on the internet as the customer care numbers, either by commenting on popular blogs or by posting blogs with their numbers.
Whenever customers call these numbers to report issues faced, fraudsters pose as customer care executives and collect sensitive banking information. They then send fraudulent links to wipe out money from the customers' bank account.
A lady had made a purchase on an online shopping portal and as she didn't like the product, she returned it. But, she didn’t get the refund for the product. So, she thought of calling the customer care number of the portal and searched for the number on Google. A number came up on the search engine and she dialed it. A person claiming to be a customer care executive asked her to provide her card details and OTP to receive the refund. After providing all these details the lady lost Rs 80,000.
Anyone can edit information related to a business, which is leading to such frauds. To increase security, there must be an extra layer of authentication before someone edits the information. An extra layer of authentication could be an OTP.
1. Never rely on the customer care number which pops up on Google, instead, you must visit the official website of the company and collect the customer care number. Make sure the website you visit is genuine and secure.
2. Never share your card details or OTP with anyone over the phone. No companies or banks ask you to provide card details or OTP.
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