Cyber fraud is a prevalent threat that can happen to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their tactics, and staying vigilant and protecting yourself is essential. Have you ever been asked to rate a movie or a TV show online? If yes, you might want to be extra careful as cyber fraudsters are on the prowl, waiting to prey on unsuspecting individuals. Recently, a couple from Gujarat lost over ₹1 crore for rating Hollywood and Bollywood movies online. This shocking incident has once again brought to light the harsh reality of rampant cyber fraud in today’s digital age.
The couple had been rating movies and TV shows for a website and were promised lucrative incentives for their reviews. However, they soon realised that they were trapped in a web of deceit and were scammed out of their hard-earned money. This incident is a stark reminder that cyber fraud is not limited to phishing emails or fraudulent websites. It can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. As cyber experts, we are responsible for spreading awareness about such incidents and helping people protect themselves from falling victim to this scam.
The story of a couple from Gujarat:
The couple’s story is a stark reminder of the harsh reality of cyber fraud and the need to be vigilant while using the internet. The couple, who were avid movie enthusiasts, received an email asking them to rate Hollywood and Bollywood movies on a popular entertainment website.
The email promised them a hefty payment for their services, which seemed an easy way to make money from home. Excited to earn a quick buck, the couple responded to the email and were asked to register on the website. To do so, they were asked to provide their bank account details, which they did without suspecting anything amiss. The scammers behind the website then proceeded to make unauthorised transactions from the couple’s bank account, causing them to lose over ₹1 crore. The couple only realised they had been scammed when they received messages from their bank informing them of the unauthorised transactions. By then, it was too late, and the money was gone. This incident highlights the cunning tactics used by cyber fraudsters to dupe unsuspecting victims into divulging their personal and financial information. It also underscores the need to be cautious and sceptical of unsolicited emails and messages promising quick and easy money.
Cyber fraud is a growing threat that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause significant financial and emotional harm and take many forms, including phishing scams, identity theft, and ransomware attacks. It’s essential to stay informed about the latest cyber threats and take proactive steps to protect oneself.
How do cyber fraudsters operate and look at?
The methods used by cyber fraudsters nowadays involve:-
- Social engineering: Cyber fraudsters use social engineering techniques to trick victims into divulging their personal information. They may use emotional appeals, urgency, or authority to convince victims to take action.
- Malware: Malware is malicious software that can infect a victim’s computer, steal their data, or allow a cybercriminal to take control of their device.
- Spoofing: Spoofing involves disguising an email or message to make it appear as though it is from a trusted source. Cyber fraudsters often use spoofing to trick victims into clicking on links or opening attachments that contain malware.
- Phishing scams: Phishing scams are among the most common types of cyber fraud. In these scams, fraudsters send emails or messages that appear to be from legitimate sources, such as banks or social media platforms, and trick victims into giving away their personal and financial information.
The signs one needs to look out for –
- Unsolicited emails or messages asking for personal information or money.
- Emails or messages with spelling or grammatical errors.
- Messages that create a sense of urgency or panic.
- Suspicious links or attachments in emails or messages.
- Messages that request the recipient to click on a link and enter their credentials.
The safety point before Review
Reviewing a movie or T.V. Show can generate money for you, whereas scammers try to trick people into paying for a movie or TV show that does not exist and review and rate them. To protect yourself from cyber movie scams, you can take the following steps:
- Be cautious of unsolicited emails or messages: It is likely a scam if you receive an unsolicited email or message about a movie or TV show that you did not request or sign up for.
Research before making any payment: Before making any payment for a movie or TV show, research to ensure that it is a legitimate production. Look for reviews, ratings, and feedback from other users who have watched the movie or show.
- Check the website URL: Scammers often create fake websites that look like the real thing to trick people into entering their personal information or making payments. Always check the URL of the website and ensure it is the production company’s official website.
- Use trusted sources: Use reputable streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu to watch movies and TV shows. These services are less likely to feature scams.
- Use secure payment methods: Always use secure payment methods like credit cards or PayPal. These payment methods offer fraud protection and make disputing any unauthorised charges easier.
- Be wary of too-good-to-be-true offers: Scammers often use attractive offers such as “watch this new release for free” to lure people into their scams. Be sceptical of any offer that seems too good to be true.
In today’s digital age, the internet has made it easier for people to access media content and give reviews. Still, it has also given rise to new forms of fraud and criminal activity. Cyber fraudsters are becoming increasingly organised and sophisticated in their approach, making it imperative for individuals and businesses to stay informed and updated on the latest trends and techniques these criminals use. The incident involving the Jamnagar couple’s loss of ₹1 crore due to a movie review scam is a reminder to be cautious and aware of the risks of investing in any entertainment or media project. We can protect ourselves and our investments from online scams and financial harm by staying informed and taking necessary precautions.
Author : Ms. Tanushree Saxena, Trainer, CyberPeace