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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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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

– 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