Cybercrime using helpline numbers

In our fast-paced digital world, Helpline number fraud has evolved as a deceptive cybercrime targeting innocent people who are seeking assistance from customer service. Scammers exploit and manipulate well-known platforms such as Google Maps and deploy their fake helpline numbers on such open platforms. In this way, such scammers are exploiting users with fake helpline numbers, hotel booking websites, and instant loan-providing apps. It is essential to be aware of such types of emerging fraud and take due care and caution.

Recent real-life instances of cybercrime using helpline numbers

  1. Helpline number fraud

A Twitter user shared his distressing experience with a helpline number fraud while he was trying to resolve his conflict of a cancelled flight by contacting the helpline number showing on google maps. He called a number that appeared on Google Maps as a customer support number for his concerned airline. He spoke to a person with an Indian accent who claimed to be from Delta Airlines.

The scammer tried to resolve the conflict by offering an alternative flight. The user got a suspicious text message which was requesting confirmation,  user recognised suspiciousness, but he continued to communicate with the scammer.  The scammer requested the user to pay for the new reservation, but the user became sceptical and declined to pay as he got the scammer’s intention to fraud him. The incident highlights the need to exercise due care and caution when contacting customer service through helpline numbers showing on open platforms such as google maps and serves as a warning against falling victim to cybercrime which is taking place using fraudulent helpline numbers.

  1. Hotel room booking fraud

Cybercriminals target customers who seek to book the hotel online, and scammers hack/spoof the website of top hotels. Recently, there has been an increase in cyber fraud connected to online hotel booking websites in Kerala. A scammers gang was found to target such customers by creating fake websites of hotels for taking bookings and hacking into the Google business account of top hotels and resorts. The scammers pose as genuine employees from the hotel in order to get the OTP from customers booking their hotels online. Where scammers direct the customer to visit the website from the link sent by the scammer, where they require the customer to enter their personal and financial details, such as bank account details resulting in online financial fraud and losing money. On the website, the fraudster also provided phone numbers for the bookings. If a customer makes the call to such phone numbers, the person at the other confirms the booking, asks for personal details of the customer and then commits cyber fraud in the name of taking hotel bookings.

  1. Quick loan app racket

Recently Chinese mobile apps offering loan services were found as platforms for committing loan fraud. Rupees 300 crore loan app scam was discovered recently by the Uttrakhand police.  These fake loan apps were available on the Google play store, later shifted to WhatsApp/messages and on other platforms as these apps were later removed from the google play store.  Scammers offer instant loans with low-interest rates through messages to attract customers, and once the victim downloads the apps for obtaining loan services, scammers gain unauthorised access to their phone’s data, including gallery and documents, then scammers use to threaten the victims to extort the money. The government asked law enforcement agencies to take strict action against such fraudulent loan-offering apps as many people have fallen victim to the unlawful practices resulting in the loss of Personal Data and paying money to the scammers. A contact centre in Delhi was also participating in this instant loan fraud scheme through Chinese mobile phone applications.

Protect Yourself from Cyber Scams, Helpline number frauds, Hotel Booking Frauds, and instant Loan App Racket Frauds


  1. Verify Helpline Numbers: Double-check helpline authenticity on official websites or verified social media accounts. Avoid relying solely on open search engines like Google Maps or third-party sources, as scammers can manipulate these platforms to display fake numbers.
  2. Beware of Unsolicited Messages: Avoid sharing sensitive information through unexpected texts or emails. Verify message authenticity with the official helpline.
  3. Secure Payments: Never provide sensitive information over the phone unless you are assured of its authenticity. Do not share your credit card information, bank account information, or any other sensitive information over the phone unless you are convinced you are dealing with a legitimate or authorised person. Legitimate customer service representatives will not request money or sensitive information on phone calls.
  4. Book Directly from Official Websites: Avoid third-party platforms and verify website security and contact information. Avoid third-party platforms or links received through email or social media.
  5. Be Wary of Unsolicited Calls: If you receive unsolicited calls claiming to be from a hotel or resort, be cautious. Avoid sharing personal information, OTPs, or sensitive data over the phone unless you are assured of the caller’s authenticity.
  6. Beware of Unrealistic Offers: Be sceptical of too-good-to-be-true loan offers.
  7. Protect Personal Information: Do not share sensitive data with suspicious loan apps. Never share sensitive data like personal photos, official documents, or financial information with loan apps which looks suspicious.
  8. Check Loan Licensing: Ensure loan apps are licensed and registered with financial authorities. Before downloading any loan app, research its legitimacy and read user reviews. Be cautious of apps with limited reviews or questionable origins.
  9. Avoid Unsecured Apps: Use loan apps with secure connections, and avoid unsecured Wi-Fi.
  10. Report Suspicious Activity: Report potential fraud to the company, authorities, or relevant agencies. Help prevent future scams and apprehend scammers. One powerful resource available to victims is the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, equipped with a 24×7 helpline number, 1930. This portal serves as a centralised platform for reporting cybercrimes, including financial fraud.



The incident of cyber scams by fake helpline numbers, fake hotel booking websites and fake instant loan-providing apps raise concerns about evolving threats or scams. Users must avoid these deceitful techniques used by scammers. Being vigilant and exercising caution is necessary to be protective. By following best practices, we can create a safer digital environment and combat evolving scams.



Author: Neeraj Soni, Intern – Policy & Advocacy Team, CyberPeace Foundation

Leave a Reply

About Cyber Peace Corps

Address: B-55 MIG, Ranchi Jharkhand, India
Phone: (+91) 82350 58865
Email[email protected]