Jalandhar, March 27
As the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has formed government in the state after registering a landslide victory in the Assembly poll, the hackers and cyber scammers have started taking advantage of the party’s pre-poll promise of giving a monthly allowance of Rs1,000 to all women above 18 years.
The swindlers are sending WhatsApp messages that attempt to trick innocent people into clicking on a malicious link in order to avail the benefit of Rs1,000 per month as promised by the AAP government.
This cyber scam was brought to the notice of The Tribune by Palvinder Singh, cyber expert and founder of Secuneus Technologies based in Jalandhar. He said many women in the past few weeks have approached him to verify the authenticity of the ‘link’ they received via WhatsApp with a claim ‘Aam Aadmi Party Punjab Women Pension Registration’.
He said two such messages were being forwarded which read as “AAP government has started Punjab Women Pension 1000 Rs Scheme, registration now open, last date to apply is March 31”. Along with this message, a malicious link has been attached and if one clicks on that link, a Google form appears which asks for the user’s personal details like name, address, mobile number, bank account number and even debit card details.
When contacted a few AAP workers to check if any new guidelines were issued to avail this benefit, it was known that the party had released a number for registration in December, 2021 (during campaigning), and that was the only way to register. The messages going viral with a link to register for Rs 1,000 pension are totally bogus, they said.
“The woman who forwarded me this link was smart enough to understand that this was a fraud or phishing attack. She said while all other information asked in the form appeared genuine, the column that asked for debit card details made her realise that it’s a fraud,” Palvinder said, adding that as majority of people especially those belonging to rural villages lag behind in cyber-security awareness, the swindlers take advantage of their innocence and loot their hard-earned money in the name of government announcements or schemes etc.
He said many such scams were also unearthed during Covid outbreak and lockdown periods, in which many people lost their money worth lakhs by registering themselves on fake Covid websites, which asked them to share bank details to receive relief funds.
Palvinder further said fraudsters keep finding new ways to dupe people but if one has to survive in this digital world, he/she needs to remain alert and aware. “We should never share any confidential details with anyone and neither should we believe in WhatsApp forwards, especially related to government schemes or any discount offers,” he added.
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