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In times of pandemic, huge windfall for online fraudsters

by the owl speaks

Mail forged even in the name of CM

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned out to be a godsend for online fraudsters, adding to their already existing bag of tricks.

Everything from the near-universal work-from-home to soaring online transactions seems to have aligned in favour of these fraudsters.

The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team had issued an alert against COVID-19-related phishing attacks as recently as June 19.

Forging mail IDs in the name of the boss and sending emails to colleagues have emerged as a favoured ploy.

“It wasn’t restricted to companies, but even a mail was forged in the name of the Chief Minister to his Cabinet colleague,” said Manoj Abraham, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) and nodal officer for the Kerala Police Cyberdome.

Fake pleas for donations,

Phishing by exploiting the proliferating charity and donations during the pandemic is another common trap. For instance, pleas for donations are circulated via social media and emails, even in the name of the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund, though the donations so elicited go straight into the fraudsters’ personal accounts.

Ransomware attack taking over the computer network of hospitals, bringing their functioning to a screeching halt, thus forcing panic-stricken managements to pay ransom to get the network decrypted has also brought online fraudsters rich dividends.

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