Ever since the coronavirus outbreak, there's a spike in digital crimes, giving sleepless nights to cybercrime officers. Maharashtra Cyber unit issued a warning in the wake of a new type of fraud, which originates in Pakistan. According to the advisory, the cybercrime unit of Maharashtra warns people about phishing and lottery fraud calls from Pakistan.

These calls generally begin with +92, Pakistan's country calling code. The Pakistani fraudsters are found to be using Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) fame to lure Indians and trick them by offering a cash reward. In reality, it's all a scheme to make quick cash by cheating unsuspecting Indians.

KBC, car lottery frauds

Pakistani fraud
Pakistani fraud sample

Maharashtra Cyber unit found that Pakistani fraudsters call random people in India and tell them that they've won a prize from KBC. A sample fraud message used by these tricksters shows an image of KBC host Amitabh Bachchan with a phone number to call in order to claim a cash reward of Rs 25 lakh. The message comes on apps like WhatsApp and Google Duo and the contact uses the KBC logo as contact picture and ask the recipient to call back on the head office number.

When an unsuspecting user calls the number, they ask for a comparatively small processing fee to be paid to a bank account in order to claim the prize money. In some cases, the fraudsters might even ask for personal financial detail over the call, which could be misused for their gain.

To establish trust, the fraudsters share photos of the office, cash bundles, and more. After receiving the banking details or processing fees, they simply block the user.

[Representational image]Creative Commons

In a similar trick, a fraudster from Pakistan will tell users that they have received a brand new car as a prize. But in order to transport the car, which would require crossing state borders, the user would need to pay an advance fee to be used towards fuel, tolls, and freight. As soon as the payment is made, the number will be blocked.

How to stay safe?

The approach as suspicious as it appears, they might work on some unsuspecting people. The Maharashtra Cyber unit has warned users to not respond to calls or messages from numbers starting with +92. Other precautions to be followed strictly are:

  • Never share personal information or sensitive banking details over calls
  • It is impossible to win prize money without participating in a lucky draw
  • No contest or prize requires you to make a processing fee payment or an advance payment to claim the reward
  • Never click on suspicious links from unknown numbers or emails
  • Verify the number you are getting calls from using caller ID apps such as Truecaller
  • Make sure your WhatsApp privacy setting to display your DP, status and last seen to your contacts only
  • Report any unsolicited calls displaying international calling code on 1963 or 1800-110-420