Work From Home- Cyber Crime Scams….Are you a Victim?

– Advocate Puneet Bhasin, Cyber Lawyer, Cyberjure Legal Consulting

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The Work From Home concept is very attractive for most people, as the advertisements offer huge sums of money for a few hours of simple work. But would you really be paid well for doing nothing much! If it is too good to be true, then it probably is not true!

The modus operandi is usually attractive advertisements on websites, public places and social media. The application procedure involves filling up a form with all your details and you have to purchase a welcome kit. If you refer more people then you get paid a percentage for each reference that materializes, so basically you make other people also fall prey to the scam.

The scope of work is mostly like:

  • Envelope stuffing (mailing programs)
  • Assembly work
  • Gifting programs
  • Email processing
  • Rebate processing
  • Repackaging
  • Payment processing
  • Jobs that ask for money to hire you
  • Businesses that don’t have an evident product or service.

If you are a victim of a work from home scam, then cyber laws has recourse for you.If the scammers use your personal data to make fake profiles and commit any crimes, then they are liable under Section 66-D for Cyber Personation, which is punishable with imprisonment upto 3 years and a fine.

The scammers are liable for Identity Theft under Section 66-C if they use your password or any other unique identification feature.

The scammers are liable under Section 43 of the Information Technology Act makes unauthorized access an offence, and Section 43 A makes a Company liable for breach of privacy and confidentiality by payment of compensation to the victim for failure to protect data.

The data that you provide to the scammers is priceless. Along with your personal information they have your credit card data too and misuse the same. When you purchase the welcome kit you may not be directed to a safe payment portal. This renders you vulnerable credit card frauds. And your personal data is sold to marketing companies without your consent.

A leading case of this type of scam was when the Cyber Crime Cell of Crime Branch, C.I.D., Mumbai Police arrested a person by name Sripathi Guruprasanna Raj, aged 52 years old, who is the Chairman and Managing Director of Sohonet India Private Ltd., a company based in Chennai. Many complainants based in Mumbai had complained to the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell, that the said company has duped them each for Rs. 4,000/- and Rs. 6,000/- by promising them with monthly income of Rs. 15,000/-.

Cyber Crime Cell of Crime Branch, C.I.D., Mumbai Police have arrested a person by name Sripathi Guruprasanna Raj, aged 52 yrs who is the Chairman and Managing Director of Sohonet India Private Ltd., a company based in Chennai. Many complainants based in Mumbai had complained to the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell, that the said company has duped them each for Rs. 4,000/- and Rs. 6,000/- by promising them with monthly income of Rs. 15,000/-. The company had through its website having URL http://www.sohonetindia.com and through various attractive advertisements in the news papers as well as by holding seminars in five star hotels, in various metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore etc. had lured the various computer literate people with attractive schemes named Instant Treasure Pack (ITP) and Green Channel The company then asked the interested people to register with their company for which they charged the registration fees of Rs. 4,000/- which was later increased to Rs. 6,000/-. The company CMD, Mr. Raj promised the people so registered that they would be provided with the data conversion job which would enable them to earn Rs. 15,000/- per month. The company then collected huge amount from the gullible computer users. Some of the users were provided with the job work whereas others were not even provided the job work (data conversion job) assured to them. The users who worked hard and completed the assignments did not receive any payment for the same, and when they tried getting in touch with the company, they received no response.

Work from Home scams are aplenty in India and scammers take advantage of the high rate of unemployment in India along with the house wife system which is popular in India.

A victim must make a complaint in the prescribed format to the Adjudicating Officer, DIT, Information Technology Act, 2000.

Contact Details- legal.pb@gmail.com

http://www.cyberjure.com

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Cyber Defamation- Section 66 A controversy

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– Advocate Puneet Bhasin, Cyber Lawyer, Cyberjure Legal Consulting

With the advent of social media, there have been innumerable instances of cyber defamation. It has definitely become very easy to defame anyone as cyber space has no territorial boundaries and has a very vast reach.

Defamation is defines as any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person’s reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person. It encompasses both written statements, known as libel, and spoken statements, called slander. In law of torts there is legal recourse for the same.

However, the law of torts is not a very strong legal recourse, and if the defamation occurs in a case where a person uses a computer, computer network, computer system or communication device, then cyber laws has the answer.

Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 provides for

Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc. It reads as under

Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,-

(a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or

(b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will, persistently makes by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,

(c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages

shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.

Section 66A refers to the sending of any information through a communication service that is ‘grossly offensive’ or has ‘menacing character’. In the U.K., Section 127(1)(a) makes the sending of ‘matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character’ an offence. The words ‘indecent, obscene’ are omitted in the Indian version of this section.

There have been many PILs filed challenging the constitutionality of Section 66 A and for determination of a standard to determine what is “grossly offensive” and “menacing character”. The scope of these terms can differ from person to person and one person may find his friends referring to him as a fool or stupid on social networking platforms as mere fun, while some persons could find it as grossly offensive and an instance of cyber bullying. There has to be a reasonable standard and it should not stifle the fundamental freedom of speech and expression.

It is interesting to note that in the United States the elements that must be proved to establish cyber defamation are:

  1. a publication to one other than the person defamed;
  2. a false statement of fact;
  3. that is understood as
  • a. being of and concerning the plaintiff; and
  • b. tending to harm the reputation of plaintiff.

o   If the plaintiff is a public figure, he or she must also prove actual malice.

A negative opinion does not constitute defamation and the Courts look at whether a reasonable reader or listener could understand the statement as asserting a statement of verifiable fact.

A statement of verifiable fact is a statement that conveys a provably false factual assertion, such as someone has committed a crime. In the case of Vogel v. Felice, considering the alleged defamatory statement that plaintiffs were the top-ranking ‘Dumb Asses’ on defendant’s list of “Top Ten Dumb Asses”:

The Court analysed that the statement that the plaintiff is a “Dumb Ass,” even first among “Dumb Asses,” communicates no factual proposition susceptible of proof or refutation. “Dumb” by itself can convey the relatively concrete meaning “lacking in intelligence.” Even so, depending on context, it may convey a lack less of objectively assayable mental function. Here defendant did not use “dumb” in isolation, but as part of the idiomatic phrase, “dumb ass.” When applied to a human being, the term “ass” is a general expression of contempt essentially devoid of factual content. Adding of the word “dumb” is a mere conversion of “contemptible person” to “contemptible fool.” Plaintiffs were justifiably and understandably insulted by this epithet, but they failed entirely to show how it could be found to convey a provable factual proposition. If the meaning conveyed cannot by its nature be proved false, it definitely cannot support a libel claim. So if it cannot be proved to be false, it cannot constitute cyber defamation.

Application of the standard of “Verifiable Fact” is necessary in order to determine whether a person should be held guilty under Section 66 A.

If a reasonable man on verification could know that the statement on social media is untrue or merely in jest, then it would not constitute an offence on application of the verifiable fact principle.

-legal.pb@gmail.com

Disclaimer: This does not constitute a legal opinion, and is merely a possible interpretation of the law.

 

Fake Social Media Profiles- Cyber Laws has a legal recourse for Victims

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– ADVOCATE PUNEET BHASIN, CYBER LAW EXPERT, CYBERJURE LEGAL CONSULTING

Fake profiles on social media are a problem most users face. Fake profiles of celebrities are rampant, as are also profiles with fake names and details. It’s definitely alarming that there has been a 168% rise in cyber crimes in the last one year.

As reported by CNN in 2012, in an  updated regulatory filing released Wednesday, the Facebook said that 8.7 percent of its 955 million monthly active users worldwide are actually duplicate or false accounts. That is around 83.03 million fake accounts which they are trying to regulate or disable. And this is the statistics of fake accounts on just one social networking website.

It is very interesting that now-a-days many real world thefts have their roots in social media. Burglars are creating networks of fake profiles to target potential victims, as such connections allow them to uncover a variety of personal information about users and their whereabouts, making their homes an easier target.

The survey found that 56% of social media users had discussed an event, evening or holiday plans ‘wall to wall’ on Facebook, potentially providing opportunities for them to be targeted by criminals.

By befriending a number of the target user’s other friends beforehand, the victim is even more likely to accept the fake friend, inadvertently giving the burglar access to all their personal information.

The cases of Cyber extortion have also increased owing to excessive personal data available in social networking profiles, and this data is accessible to fake profiles in your friend list.
When we come across a fake profile, the first step is to report the same to the service provider like facebook or twitter. Most of these Intermediaries/ Service Providers have facility for reporting and blocking fake profiles.

For example, in the case of facebook the following procedure has to be followed to report an abusive page:

  1. Go to the Page you want to report
  2. Click below the Page’s cover photo
  3. Select Report Page
  4. Choose the reason you’re reporting the Page and click Continue

Facebook will then review the reported material and remove anything that violates their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If warranted they also warn or disable the person responsible.

The following procedure has to be followed to report a fake account that’s pretending to be you or a public figure:

 

Fake Timelines created to imitate real people (impostor accounts) are not allowed on Facebook. If someone created an account pretending to be you:

  1. Go to the Timeline
  2. Click and then select Report
  3. Click Report this account
  4. Click This person is pretending to be me or someone I know and then complete the on-screen directions
  5. Click Submit to Facebook for Review

SECTION 66D of the Information Technology Act, 2000 deals with CHEATING BY PERSONATION USING COMPUTER OR COMPUTER DEVICE, which brings within its ambit fake social media profiles.

Whoever, by means for any communication device or computer resource cheats by personating, shall be punished with Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees.

This brings into its ambit:

  1. Making a social networking profile in a fake name.
  2. Making a social networking profile in some other person’s name.
  3. Performing social networking activity in such other name.
  4. Sending emails or messages from some other person’s email id or messaging account.

However, in most cases the purpose of making a fake social media profile has a hidden criminal intention of the perpetrator. It is either means to commit the cyber crimes of cyber stalking, cyber defamation.

Both these cyber crimes are punishable under Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 which makes “using a computer or communication device to send data which is injurious or offensive” an offence. It states that:

Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,-

(a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or

(b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will, persistently makes by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,

(c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages

shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.

Explanation: For the purposes of this section, terms “Electronic mail” and “Electronic Mail Message” means a message or information created or transmitted or received on a computer, computer system, computer resource or communication device including attachments in text, image, audio, video and any other electronic record, which may be transmitted with the message.

CYBER STALKING

The offence of cyber stalking involves using a computer or communication device to send information which is grossly offensive, menacing , annoying, and intimidating for a victim.

There are many cases where victims are threatened that if they do not pay money to the perpetrator, their photos would be morphed or any other form of humiliation will have to be faced by them.

CYBER DEFAMATION

Cyber defamation involves using a computer or communication device to make false statements about a person and cause insult and humiliation to such person. Apart from legal recourse under cyber laws, the victim has legal redress under the law of torts too.

IDENTIFYING THE REAL FACE BEHIND THE FAKE ACCOUNT

Advanced Cyber Forensic Tools and analysis of log files has made it possible to trace the real people behind fake profiles. Their names and addresses can be easily traced in order to take legal action against them.

LEGAL RECOURSE

A victim must file a complaint with the cyber crime cell or Adjudicating Officer in the format mentioned in the Infromation Technology Act, 2000 with the fees payable.

Also, the victim must contact the intermediary to take temporary action against the offender.

It is always advisable to interact with people you personally know on social media, however, if you do interact with people you don’t know well it is best to check out mutual friends.

If you do spot any fake profiles on social media, you must report the same, as you not only will save yourself from cyber crimes, but also many others who could fall prey to such scammers.

legal.pb@gmail.com

http://www.cyberjure.com

 

– Advocate Puneet Bhasin, Cyber Lawyer, Cyberjure Legal Consulting, http://www.cyberjure.com

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Hacking or unauthorized access to accounts can be of two types. The first is the one that would involve password cracking tools, but most organizations have cyber security features in place to prevent these attacks, however, it’s the second type of attack that can cripple any organization or person’s accounts and databases; this is a social engineering attack.

Social engineers are criminals who take advantage of human behavior to pull off an online scam or hacking attack. Successful social engineers are confident and in control of the situation completely.

There can be two techniques used by social engineers. One is of simple observation and another is of proactive effort.

In the first case, the social engineer simply observes a person’s social networking profiles, linkedin profiles and all data available about him. Most people have passwords that they can easily remember, and for that they have to be words closely related to them. People share their lives on social networking, where their date of birth, favourite colour, pet’s name and everything possibly related to them is freely available. It’s pretty easy to guess passwords in such a scenario. It’s always advisable to be discrete with respect to the data shared on social media. Such data is also collected by the online questionnaires and market research forms that people request to fill in public places.

In the second case, the attack is pre-planned and complete checklist is made of the person or companies likes, dislikes, passions, hobbies and professional credentials. Then the second stage of physical access comes into the picture. For example, three income tax officials turn up at your office for an inspection along with relevant badges and check all your office computers and all your documents, and in the process lodge key loggers into your computers, whereby they will receive an email of every key stroke made on the computers, thereby giving out your passwords and confidential data.

An example of this kind of attack would be where a social engineer researches about a person let’s say Mr. A, and knows that this person is fond of foreign holidays. The social engineer then calls up this person as the authorized representative from a reputed travel agency and offers a mind-blowing holiday package. He asks the Mr. A the version of PDF reader he is using on his laptop. The conversation is very friendly and inspires trust in the mind of Mr. A. The social engineer sends the holiday proposal in a PDF format which is not compatible with the PDF reader installed by Mr. A, and along with the proposal sends a compatible PDF reader for Mr. A to download and read the proposal. The PDF reader has malware attached that gives the social engineer access into Mr. A’s computer.

Another example of this type of attack would be where a very pretty woman, who is a journalist, goes to meet the System Administrator of a big company, to get his opinion on cyber security. She flirts a lot with him and after taking his opinion leaves, but “accidently” leaves her pen drive with him. A beautiful woman who flirted with this guy definitely would make him curious about her and he accesses her pen drive to know more about her. Only that the pen drive is infected with key logger and Trojan malware, thereby making the company’s networks very vulnerable.

The 4 basic principles which most social engineers follow are:

  • They project confidence. They do not sneak around and they proactively approach people and draw attention towards themselves.
  • They give you something. Probably just a small favor which creates trust and a perception of indebtedness.
  • They use humor as that is one tool which is endearing and disarming.
  • They make a request and offer a reason and research shows people are likely to respond to any reasoned request.

Attacks by social engineering are offences in India under Section 43 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. This section reads as under:

Penalty and compensation for damage to computer, computer system, etc. -If any person without permission of the owner or any other person who is incharge of a computer, computer system or computer network,-

(a) accesses or secures access to such computer, computer system or computer networkor computer resource;

(b) downloads, copies or extracts any data, computer data base or information from such computer, computer system or computer network including information or data held or stored in any removable storage medium;

(c) introduces or causes to be introduced any computer contaminant or computer virus into any computer, computer system or computer network;

(d) damages or causes to be damaged any computer, computer system or computer network, data, computer data base or any other programmes residing in such computer, computer system or computer network;

(e) disrupts or causes disruption of any computer, computer system or computer network;

(f) denies or causes the denial of access to any person authorised to access any computer, computer system or computer network by any means;

(g) provides any assistance to any person to facilitate access to a computer, computer system or computer network in contravention of the provisions of this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder;

(h) charges the services availed of by a person to the account of another person by tampering with or manipulating any computer, computer system, or computer network,

(i) destroys, deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means;

-he shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation to the person so affected.

 

A victim is required to make a Complaint in the prescribed format along with the applicable fees to The Adjudicating Officer, Information Technology Act, 2000. The fees are calculated in accordance with the damages claimed. Under the provisions of the Rules for conduct of Adjudicating Proceedings under the Information Technology Act, 2000, the Adjudicating officer shall decide every application in 4 months and the whole matter in 6 months.

 – legal.pb@gmail.com

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Advocate Puneet Bhasin, Cyber Law expert, Cyberjure Legal Consulting

The concept of property has undergone plethora of changes, with the emergence of social networking platforms. The photos we share, the posts we make are our digital property. Every person now-a-days has a part of himself online, and the family and friends would want to preserve this legacy too after a person is no more. We have a lot of memories stored online which our loved ones would want to preserve. Digital assets also include music, films, email accounts and computer game characters.

In a very recent case of Toronto based Alison Atkins, the sixteen years old lost a long battle with colon disease. Her sister had a technician crack her password protected Mac Book Pro, as her family wanted to access her digital remains like her facebook, twitter, yahoo and hotmail accounts, which were her life line during her illness. Alison had pictures poems and messages written on these inline forums which her family wanted to preserve.

However, accessing Alison’s accounts without her authorization was an act of unauthorized access and punishable by law.

Under the Information Technology Act, 2000, it is a violation of Section 43(a) and Section 43(b) of the Act.

These provisions read as under:

Section 43: If any person without permission of the owner or any other person who is in charge of a computer, computer system or computer network,-

(a)  accesses or secures access to such computer, computer system or computer network

(b)  downloads, copies or extracts any data, computer data base information from such computer, computer system or computer network including information or data held or stored in any removable storage medium.

-shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation to the person so affected.

The unauthorized use of Alison’s passwords violated the website terms of use and provisions of cyber laws too. None of the service providers allowed the Atkins family to recover her passwords and access her accounts as that would amount to a violation of her privacy. The attempts of the Atkins family to recover the digital remains of their daughter fell apart as facebook and all the other service providers started to block them out.

The digital era adds a new complexity to the human test of dealing with death. Loved ones once may have memorialized the departed with private rituals and a notice in the newspaper. Today, as family and friends gather publicly to write and share photos online, the obituary may never be complete.

But families like the Atkinses can lose control of a process they feel is their right and obligation when the memories are stored online—encrypted, locked behind passwords, just beyond reach. One major cause is privacy law. Current laws, intended to protect the living, fail to address a separate question: Who should see or supervise our online legacy?

In 2009, Facebook began to allow family members to either delete or “memorialize” the accounts of the deceased. In a memorialized account, the people on a person’s existing friend list can still leave their comments and photos with the account of a dead person. But nobody has permission to log in or edit the account. However, this could also lead to cases of cyber defamation where there could be defamatory posts made, and the family is not authorized to delete or edit them.

The only solution to this is that digital legacy must be included in wills, and people should leave clear instructions about what should happen to their social media, online accounts and other digital assets after their death. If we make our wishes clear now as to whether we want our digital legacy to be closed down or preserved, it becomes much easier for loved ones to comply with our wishes.

legal.pb@gmail.com

http://www.cyberjure.com

Image– Advocate Puneet Bhasin, Cyber Law Expert, Cyberjure Legal Consulting

The ambit of Article 21 of the Constitution has embraced the Right to Privacy within its ambit. The Supreme Court in the case of State of Maharashtra and anr. v/s. Madhukar Mardikar further laid down that a person of easy virtue is entitled to the right to privacy.

In the digital age, a lot of chapters of our lives are recorded in cell phones, laptops, email accounts and other digital media. As a matter of fact now-a-days emails, sms and chat records constitute important evidence in matrimonial disputes and cases filed under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. There are many instances where parties resort to hacking or unauthorized access to obtain such evidence. A simple online search will provide a long list of softwares capable of providing call records, chat history and other personal data from cell phones, which is a complete violation of the fundamental right to privacy.

A major question that arises is that can such tainted evidence be admissible in a Court of law and can a victim resort to obtaining evidence by using these methods. Definitely a victim is entitled to receive justice, but does that justify unauthorized acts on the part of the victim to substantiate his/her claims.

This very issue came up before the Adjudicating Officer, Government of Maharashtra, in the case of Vinod Kaushik & Anr. (R) Noida v/s. Madhvika Joshi and Others (R) Pune.

The facts of this case were very interesting and a common case scenario in today’s times of unauthorized access to data in cyberspace.

Madhvika Joshi (the Respondent No. 1) was an employee of a software company in Pune, and was married to Neeraj Kaushik (the Petitioner No.2). As Madhvika had a troubled matrimonial relationship, she obtained unauthorized access to the email accounts of the petitioners , printed their chat sessions and produced those as evidence to pursue her case under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code against the petitioners. In pursuance of the same, Madhvika’s husband was arrested by the Delhi Police. Thereafter, her husband filed an application for damages and compensation against the respondents before the Adjudicating Officer, Government of Maharashtra, in connection with the unauthorized access of their email accounts. The Adjudicating officer held Madhvika as “technically guilty” of breaching Section 43 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Section 43(a) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which reads as under:

Penalty and compensation for damage to computer, computer system, etc.-

If any person without permission of the owner or any other person who is in charge of

a computer, computer system or computer network,-

(a)accesses or secures access to such computer, computer

system or computer network (or computer resource).

………..(he shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation to the person so affected).

A reading of this legal provision makes it clear that the complainant would have to show that the act of unauthorized access has resulted in sufferance of damages. In the present case it was noted by the Adjudicating Officer that Madhvika had used the said information retrieved by her from email accounts of the petitioners only for the purpose of pursuing her case under Sectio 498A of the Indian Penal Code and for no other purpose, and there was no compensation awarded as there was no material damage. Neeraj Kaushik filed a writ petition before the Delhi High Court against the order of the Adjudicating Officer, but the plea of the petitioner was dismissed.

This clearly shows a major lacunae in the wording of Section 43 of the Information Technology Act, where proof of damage is necessary, the fact that the husband was arrested does not constitute occasion giving rise to compensation as the arrest was legitimate in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

However, this case has highlighted the concept of right to privacy even in cyberspace. A spouse cannot check or see the other spouse’s phone chats or emails without their permission, let alone produce it in any legal proceeding as evidence. Even in matrimonial relations, a concept of privacy exists and either spouse cannot intrude into the private space and transgress that boundary.

legal.pb@gmail.com

http://www.cyberjure.com

– Advocate Puneet Bhasin, Cyber Lawyer, Cyberjure Legal Consulting

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Cyber space has certain distinct features like anonymity which make it a very dangerous arena. However, this sense of anonymity is not really true as every person and activity on the internet can be traced, but a layman does not have the knowledge to take recourse to the same when he is a victim of a cyber crime.
Email scams are the most commonly committed cyber crimes in India. Gullible people fall prey to these scams which offer great monetary gains. An Email scam is a hoax distributed in an email form which is designed to deceive and defraud the email recipients for monetary gain.
The most common types of Email scams are as follows:
1. Dating Scam: This is a very charming scam that purports to tug at the strings of your heart but end of the day leaves your wallet empty. These scams originate from random chats on online dating or matrimonial portals where email ids are exchanged for further correspondence. Also in many cases there are emails soliciting for a date by a very beautiful and charming woman that are sent to all email ids that would seemingly belong to men. Responding to such emails leads to exchange of photographs and sharing of personal data along with flirting and building an emotional bond. However, it ends with the scammer being in severe need for money for treatment after an accident or to visit the online lover. However, once the money is transferred all correspondences from the scammers end cease. In many cases they are actually Nigerian men who purport to be beautiful women and solicit men for dates, and that’s why this is a type of Nigerian email scam.
2. Phishing Emails: These emails are all over cyber space. They purport to have been sent by a Bank and have a link which directs you to a webpage which carries the logo and feel of the Bank’s website. They require the recipient to update his records immediately otherwise his accounts would be frozen. Most people panic on receiving such an email and enter their online banking passwords and sensitive data on the webpage. Thereafter, the scammers make unauthorized withdrawals from the victim’s bank accounts. The latest is an email from RBI which asks the recipient of the email to secure his bank account details with RBI, requiring him to mention all the banks in which he has his accounts along with the net banking details, credit card numbers including the secret three digit CVV number.
3. Inheritance Scam: These emails mention that the name of the recipient matches that of the relative of a millionaire who has died intestate abroad. If a victim responds positively to this email, he will receive very genuine looking transfer documents for the property along with a bill for the legal fees that would have to be incurred for the transfer. Once the victim transfers the money, he will never hear from the scammer again.
4. Lottery Scam: This is among the most common types of email scams, where a victim receives an email informing him that he has won a big lottery and he has to pay a certain amount of money as transaction costs to claim the prize money.
5. Extortion scam: This is a very interesting type of email scam. In email scams, the scam emails are sent out to millions of people. These scam emails are threatening in nature and demand security money. They will typically say that I am watching you, and I know your wife and child also, if you don’t pay beware of the consequences. The next email would mention that you think I am not serious, but I have been following you, you wore a white shirt and blue trousers today. Now in reality this is just a psychological play to create fear in the mind of the victim. If you just clearly think, then from all the men who receive that email many would have a wife and child, and most men wear white shirts and blue trousers. It’s a game of probability.
In 2012 a 32 year old man from Indore was arrested for allegedly duping a student from Kandivili of Rs. 1.2 Lakhs through an email lottery scam. The Mumbai Cyber Police cracked this case and apprehended the culprit.
If you are a victim of such a scam, then there is legal recourse under the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Section 66-D of the Information Technology Act, 2000 provides for punishment for cheating by Personation by using a computer resource. This legal provision reads as under:
“Whoever, by means for any communication device or computer resource cheats by personating, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to One Lakh rupees.”
A victim can initiate legal action against such scammers. The first step would be filing a complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell to trace the offenders and thereafter a Complaint should be filed with the Adjudicating Officer under the Information Technology Act, in order to initiate legal proceedings against the offenders. In many cases the offenders are Indian citizens only, who pretend to be foreign nationals in the emails.
Always remember, that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Never volunteer your credit card details, net banking details, PAN card numbers or any other sensitive personal data to any unknown person in cyber space however, credible it may appear to be.
It is always better to be safe in cyber space. However, if you are a victim of such scams, you do have legal recourse to recover your money.

legal.pb@gmail.com

http://www.cyberjure.com