Phishing alert: How cybercriminals are using India Post to steal money from gullible citizens

“The letter looked very authentic. The scratch card looked suspicious though. On the scratch card, it was written that I won an additional Rs 10 lakh, and an SMS code was given. As per the instructions, it was supposed to be sent to the helpline number,” says Rushita, a student at Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad.

By Amrutha Kosuru  Published on  20 April 2022 6:20 AM GMT
Phishing alert: How cybercriminals are using India Post to steal money from gullible citizens

Hyderabad: A few days ago, an envelope containing a letter and two scratch cards landed at Rushita Avula's house. The address was handwritten and it had come via India Post. The letter claimed that she had won a cash prize in 'Amazon's Random Lucky Draw'.

"It is our ultimate pleasure to announce your winning Prize Money of 1,00,000 (Rupees One Lakh) winner certificate along with an additional SCRATCH CARD COUPON which you will be able to redeem by either calling on our prize Helpline Number stamped on the coupon or you can also SMS the code underneath to our Prize Helpline Number," the letter reads.

The letter also states that it is an internal initiative of the Company solely meant for promotional purposes only. It also says instructs not to call the Amazon Company's original customer care number as the information related to the prize and cash cards will be available on their 'prize helpline number only'

"The letter looked very authentic. The scratch card looked suspicious though. On the scratch card, it was written that I won an additional Rs 10 lakh, and an SMS code was given. As per the instructions, it was supposed to be sent to the helpline number," says Rushita, a student at Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad.

Over the last three-four months, Rushita has been receiving several scam calls and messages claiming to be from Nykaa and other companies. "I knew this was a scam too. But receiving something like this directly to my house makes me worry about my safety and security," she says.

Rushita filed a case on the Cyber Crime Portal. The case has been assigned to the Jubilee Hills Police Station.

Jubilee Hills Police Station Inspector Ramesh says this is the first time they have seen such a case where SMS codes have been sent home directly. "Usually, this SMS code is like a hack code. Once the hacker receives it, he gains access to the victim's mobile application and the money is drained out within mere minutes," he says.

"When scammers call us, if we question them too much, they get agitated, they begin verbally abusing us as well. They also send vile messages and threats saying that they have our addresses and that we should be careful," Rushita adds.

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