There have been a flood of fraud calls on WhatsApp these days. People are receiving calls or messages from international numbers. Cyber fraudsters are inventing new methods of scamming. Earlier, these fraudsters used to target people through regular phone calls, but now they are targeting people on OTT communication platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram. The numbers usually start with 251, 60, or 84.
Apart from this, people are also getting calls from various other international phone numbers. On the other hand, when you receive domestic calls, the numbers start with +91, which is India’s country code. According to a sample survey conducted by the community social media platform LocalCircles, 83 percent of people using WhatsApp in India have said that they have been receiving audio and video calls from unknown numbers in the last 30 days. 59 percent have mentioned that these calls are coming from international numbers.
Origin of calls Such calls are coming from numbers of countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, and Kenya. These calls come through the voice over internet protocol network. Although these numbers appear international, these calls are likely being made through the internet from some part of India. These international callers are transferring dangerous viruses like malware to your phone. Sometimes the calls are blank, while other times they send links.
Protect yourself Job offers for work-from-home or data entry are offered on such calls. Fraudsters also send links, asking you to click and follow some steps. But you should never do such things, not even by mistake. Otherwise, your money will go down the drain. Cyber experts advise people not to answer such calls and not to respond to their messages. If you get such calls, immediately block the numbers. If you have accidentally answered the call and become a victim of fraud, file a complaint with the cyber cell promptly.
Modus operandi Behind the rampant scam calls on WhatsApp and Telegram lies a multi-million dollar industry. Fraudsters obtain international numbers through various means. There are several free access websites that can generate virtual phone numbers for any country. Many platforms charge a fee for generating such numbers. This fee is paid in cryptocurrencies. Platforms like Telegram and eBay have an ecosystem where such numbers are generated.
Govt, telecom steps Tracing such fraud calls is currently proving to be quite difficult. Telecommunication companies and TRAI are implementing AI-based solutions to curb spam calls and messages. The telecommunication companies state that since WhatsApp and Telegram are not regulated, native mechanism needs to be developed to control such calls. Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnav, recently stated that the government will take strong steps to prevent such instances of cyber fraud. He also mentioned that the government had provided information on certain numbers being used for WhatsApp fraud. The micro blogging platform had cooperated with the government to block those numbers.
Where can you file a complaint? Therefore, whether you use WhatsApp or Telegram, remain cautious while using these communication apps. Although the government is making every effort to stop such calls and messages, it is necessary for you to exercise caution yourself. Just like we say in buses and trains that passengers should take care of their belongings, similarly, it is essential to be vigilant regarding fraud calls and messages. So stay alert, stay awake.
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