Every day, hundreds of phones get bulk messages sent by fraudsters hoping for consumers to click on phishing links and give personal information. However, the emergence of websites that sell people’s identities and phone numbers in bulk has recently compounded the problem for law enforcement organisations. Scammers have impersonated banks, telecom providers, or brands to steal information and drain money ranging from a few thousand to several lakhs from susceptible people.

The data is accessible in many file formats, and all that is required is to make an account on the websites and acquire it. Senior residents, retired officials, and regular consumers are the primary demographics. These people’s information is freely accessible on the internet. Companies believe that because names, email IDs, and phone numbers are classified as “general data,” they may be shared and sold. Credit card information and medical records, on the other hand, cannot be shared online since they are “sensitive/personal.” Data from B2B companies, physicians, and chemists are gathered from web directory sites where names, addresses, and contact numbers are freely accessible. Corporations may also sell other types of data.

There seem to be no regulations that safeguard the sale of generic data. The information might be classified and sold online for marketing reasons. Many companies demand to learn who their target audience is. This data selling company was founded to supply data for marketing purposes, but cybercriminals have been using it may also use it for unlawful purposes. The Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell detained 23 persons in March for sending similar emails on a daily basis and inducing victims to visit fraudulent websites under the guise of renewing KYC data — failing which they would “lose” their account with a prominent public sector bank.

The culprit steals OTPs and withdraws money from the victim’s account while he believes he is finishing his KYC procedure or registering for reward points. Citizens have continued to be duped by such cybercrimes.

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– Aarav Gupta 

Edited By : Prakhar Tripathi

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