The State Government of Andhra Pradesh has commenced the COVID-19 booster dose drive for the frontline workers, health workers, and senior citizens. The Visakhapatnam Cyber Crime Department would like the public to be very cautious about any booster dose scam that may arise. As a part of this scam, fraudsters may contact people, offering the booster dose for free or at a very low price. In a conversation with Yo! Vizag, the Visakhapatnam Cyber Crime Department added that the fraudsters might sound very genuine, by sharing the correct information regarding the person’s previous vaccination doses. Further, an OTP may be sent to the victim’s phone for confirmation. Upon sharing the OTP with the caller, a bank transfer might happen or the user’s phone might get hacked. The Visakhapatnam Cyber Crime Department informs that no such services are being provided by the State Government of Andhra Pradesh.
Cyber crimes, during the COVID-19 pandemic, have increased rapidly. These crimes are being carried out by fraudsters hidden behind computer screens and mobiles. The fear of the COVID-19 pandemic has provided fraudsters the freedom to exploit people’s weaknesses; especially their concern over the safety of their family. The Andhra Pradesh Police has a dedicated team, the Cyber Crime Department (also known as the Cyber Cell), to deal with such unseen miscreants.
The prime targets of these fraudsters are those in urgent need of vaccinations, oxygen cylinders, oximeters, and COVID related medical supplies. The Cyber Cell informs that numerous social media posts, regarding the requirement of COVID-19 vaccines, are the main sources that fraudsters use to contact the victims. They connect with these people and lure them into making payments for the required medicines via UPI payment apps. After receiving confirmation of payment, these fraudsters block the victims’ phone numbers immediately.
The Cyber Cell also informed that eight cases have been filed so far by the victims of such scams. These cases have been reported during the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dedicated teams are at work for tracing out the cyber criminals. A Tech Support team stays in touch with the victims. Upon collection of information, such as the transaction details, victim’s contact information, and other required details, the Tech Support initiates the search for the criminal. The initial step would be trying to retrieve the money with the help of the concerned bank. Further, a separate team will head out to capture the criminals. Using the phone number used to contact the victim, they trace the criminal’s location, with the help of the network provider.
The Cyber Crime Department, Visakhapatnam, warns the public about scam, under the name of COVID-19 booster dose, as the reports suggest a third wave of COVID-19. They also added that creating awareness will minimize the risk of people falling victim of such frauds. Especially, the senior citizens must be well informed as they are very vulnerable to such deceit.
If you notice any suspicious activity, or receive any phone call, contact the Cyber Crime Department immediately on TOLL FREE NUMBER 155260.