Cybercrime alert!: Block calls from numbers with +254, +84, +63, +1(218)
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Cybercrime alert!: Block calls from numbers with +254, +84, +63, +1(218)

May 26, 2023

New Delhi: Are you getting missed calls, messages, calls, WhatsApp texts or calls from numbers starting with +254, +84, +63 or other international numbers? “Report and block,” say experts. The alert is being circulated by the Home Ministry’s Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C) so that innocent people do not become victims of cybercrime.

Report quoted a couple of experts in the cybercrime business, who raised serious concerns over the recent trend. “These numbers are mostly originating from Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia. People across India, irrespective of their profession, have been receiving calls and missed calls on WhatsApp from +254, +63, +84, +(218) or other international numbers,” an expert in cyber intelligence and digital forensic said.

A message received from a number starting with +243 said: “Hello, my name is Allena, may I take a few minutes of your time?”

“Now that the 5G era of the Internet has arrived, there are already many people who make money through the Internet. I believe you know it too. I must make money. If you don’t speak, you may miss an opportunity at a turning point in your life. There are not many opportunities. I hope you see and then respond to my message,” the message said.

“This is a new cybercrime trend and some of them have become victims of cybercrime. It has become more frequent,” an expert in cyber intelligence and digital forensics said. Another expert in cyber intelligence and digital forensics said that people should “report and block numbers like +254, +84, +63 or other international numbers if there is a missed call alert or calls on WhatsApp.”

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“Cyber awareness and hygiene are one of the important aspects in policing and it is a much-appreciated initiative,” the official added.

“From early morning between 6 am to 7 am or late in the night, such calls are being received by people from all groups whether he or she is a private employee, businessman, retired Government officers or even school and college boy or girl. We need to be just aware of such calls,” another expert noted.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah reviewed the functioning of the I4C in March and said that the wing is working for realising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a cyber-success society. He further said that the I4C is enabling effective and seamless coordination among all agencies and states in the battle against cybercrimes.

I4C, a “special purpose unit” of the Centre, has saved over Rs. 12 crore of cybercrime victims over the years since its inception in 2018. I4C has a dedicated ‘Cyber Citizen, Cyber Fraud Reporting and Management System’.

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