India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) in the Prime Minister’s Office, Lieutenant-General Rajesh Pant has cautioned cybercriminals not to take advantage of the current COVID-19 crisis and to commit fraud financial.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday the creation of a relief fund for assistance and emergencies related to coronaviruses where citizens can make donations.
Citizens can make micro donations using a variety of payment methods, including debit cards and credit cards, internet banking, UPI (BHIM, PhonePe, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, PayTM, Mobikwik, etc.) and RTGS / NEFT. They can also contribute via the pmindia.gov.in website. From Bollywood stars to athletes, several celebrities have pledged huge sums to the fund after its launch.
In an interview with the Economic Times, Lieutenant-General Rajesh Pant warned citizens against cybercriminals taking advantage of the current situation and said the cybercrime department had put in place a mitigation team to tackle these cybersecurity issues.
More than 4,000 fraud portals and malicious websites linked to the coronavirus pandemic have emerged in the past two months, he added.
According to government sources, even the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was not spared and a few hours after its announcement on Saturday, many similar websites have been created like “PM-care” etc.
The State Bank of India (SBI) and the Press Information Bureau (PIB) have also warned citizens of fake Unified Payment Interface (UPI) being circulated in the form of Prime Minister’s relief fund to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The fact-checking wing of the Press Information Bureau tweeted on Sunday the correct UPI link for the PM Cares relief fund, warning internet users of fake IDs circulating on the platforms after a Twitter user alerted SBI of the same.
“Beware of Fake UPI ID being circulating on the pretext of PM CARES Fund. #PIBFactcheck: The correct UPI ID of #PMCaresFunds is pmcares@sbi,” PIB Fact Check captioned a snapshot of the fake ID on Twitter.
Last week, the Delhi police cybercrime unit also released a list of malicious and “potentially dangerous” websites that claimed to provide useful information about COVID-19.