On December 2, a woman from Noida fell victim to a new form of cyber fraud, known as “digital arrest,” losing over Rs 11 lakh in the process. This incident, which kept her under virtual arrest for a day, has prompted an investigation by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
This case, the first of its kind reported at the Cyber Crime police station in Noida, involved fraudsters impersonating police officials. They falsely implicated the 50-year-old victim in a made-up money-laundering case, even going as far as to name an IPS officer in the CBI and the founder of a defunct airline.
A similar incident occurred in Faridabad, Haryana, where a woman was “digitally arrested” for over a week. The criminals convinced her that her identification documents had been used for illicit activities and monitored her continuously via Skype.
The victim from Noida reported that she received an IVR call on November 13, informing her that a mobile SIM card had been purchased using her Aadhaar card in Mumbai for illegal advertising and harassment purposes. The call was then transferred to a man claiming to be a Mumbai Police officer, who interrogated her over Skype. He alleged that she was involved in a money-laundering case related to the founder of an airline, for which an FIR had been filed and an arrest warrant issued by the Supreme Court.
After the interrogation, the supposed officer declared her innocent and transferred the case to an IPS officer with the CBI in Mumbai for further investigation. The CBI officer claimed that during their investigation, they discovered 246 debit cards at the airline founder’s residence, one of which bore the victim’s name and was linked to a bank account opened with her Aadhaar card.
The officer then told her that her account had been used to transfer Rs 2 crore, for which she had allegedly received Rs 20 lakh. To complete the investigation, she was instructed to consolidate her funds into her ICICI account and then transfer them to a PFC account as per Supreme Court directives.
The victim was warned not to disclose any of this information, as it was a matter of “national security.” To prove her innocence, she was also advised to maintain a substantial balance in her accounts, even suggesting she take out a personal loan of Rs 20 lakh from ICICI. Under pressure, she arranged for an additional Rs 3 lakh, which was also transferred to the PFC account.
The fraudsters even took a picture of her signature on Skype under the guise of validating her Aadhaar card for the investigation. The victim reported the incident to the Uttar Pradesh Police’s Cyber Crime officials, alleging a fraud of Rs 11.11 lakh and being “digitally arrested” from morning till night.
Inspector Reeta Yadav, in charge of the Cyber Crime police station in Noida Sector 36, confirmed that an FIR has been filed under the relevant sections of the Information Technology Act and Indian Penal Code (IPC), and an investigation is currently underway.
She urged the public to remain vigilant about such emerging online crimes and to report any suspicious activities to the police.
What is Digital Arrest?
Digital Arrest is a new form of cybercrime where fraudsters impersonate law enforcement officials to deceive individuals into believing they are facing imminent digital arrest for fabricated legal violations. The perpetrators use digital communication methods, such as video calls or messages, to create a sense of urgency and fear.
They often coerce the victims into transferring money or sharing sensitive information to avoid the supposed ‘digital arrest’. This scam has been reported in various parts of India, including Noida and Faridabad.
It’s important to stay informed and vigilant to avoid falling victim to such scams. Always verify the identity of the caller, and never share personal or financial information with unverified individuals. If you suspect a scam, report it to the local authorities immediately.
In the Noida case, the victim received an IVR call on November 13, claiming her Aadhaar card was used to purchase a mobile SIM card in Mumbai for illegal purposes. The call was transferred to a fake Mumbai Police officer on Skype, who interrogated her about a supposed money-laundering case. They alleged her involvement with the airline founder and presented a fabricated Supreme Court arrest warrant.
The fraudsters coerced her into transferring funds to a specified account under the guise of completing the investigation. To prove her innocence, she was advised to maintain a substantial balance, even taking out a Rs 20 lakh loan from ICICI. Under pressure, she transferred Rs 3 lakh more. The criminals also obtained her signature on Skype.
The victim reported the incident to cybercrime officials in Uttar Pradesh, alleging fraud of Rs 11.11 lakh. An FIR has been filed, and an investigation is ongoing. Inspector Reeta Yadav urged the public to stay vigilant against such online crimes and report suspicious activities to the police.
The investigation into the “digital arrest” fraud case in Noida is currently underway after a woman fell victim to the scam, losing over Rs 11 lakh. The cybercrime police station in Noida Sector 36 has filed an FIR under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act and the Indian Penal Code.
Inspector Reeta Yadav, in charge of the Cyber Crime police station, confirmed the initiation of the investigation. The fraudsters, posing as police officials, had falsely implicated the victim in a fabricated money-laundering case involving an IPS officer in the CBI and the founder of a defunct airline.
The investigation aims to uncover the identities of the criminals behind this cyber fraud and gather evidence to bring them to justice. Inspector Reeta Yadav emphasized the importance of public vigilance and encouraged reporting any suspicious online activities to the police.
As the investigation progresses, further details will be revealed, and appropriate legal actions will be taken to address the fraudulent activities and ensure the safety of potential victims.
How to Stay Safe with Digital Arrest
How to Stay Safe: Here are some tips to protect yourself from scams:
- Stay Informed: Stay aware of common scams and tactics used by fraudsters, including digital arrest scams.
- Verify Caller Identity: If you receive a call or message from someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer, verify their identity by asking for their official credentials and contact information.
- Don’t panic. Stay calm and question the legitimacy of the situation. Genuine legal matters are typically handled through formal procedures, not immediate threats.
- Never Share Personal Information: Avoid sharing personal or financial information, such as Social Security numbers, bank details, or passwords, with unknown or unverified individuals.
- Double-Check Claims: If you are informed about legal allegations, independently verify the information.