People being duped in name of govt schemes

Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 15

Concerned over fraudulent activities being carried out in the name of government schemes by fake agencies and individuals, the government has directed all departments to keep a vigil on such practices and take immediate action.

The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has also written to the state government and cited some cases to explain that how these agencies or individuals work.

The modus operandi is to use the names similar to government schemes with a minor change in spelling and operating “phishing sites”. To confuse and dupe the people, logos of government schemes, photos of Prime Minister, ministers, etc in their websites are shown to display the affiliation with the government.

These agencies are extorting money from people by alluring them with promises of giving jobs, issuing appointment letters on fake government letterheads and fake allocation of distributorship, the ministry pointed out. These fake operators are weaving traps around the latest announcements of government schemes and incentives and target specific groups.

In one of the reported instances, e-gram digital website (egramdigital.co.in) is misusing the government flagship Digital India programme for extracting money from people for becoming the state partners and distributors for fake scheme “Apka Angootha, Apka Bank” and duping citizens to make payments for biometric devices.

In another case, the PM Ujjwala Yojana was misused for fake allotment of LPG distributorship through a spurious website (Ujawalayojana.org) by creating one letter difference between Ujjawala and Ujawala.

The Union ministry asked the state to take due diligence to ensure that their schemes were not misrepresented by fake entities for extracting money from citizens.

The ministry suggested that enough awareness should be created among people through social media sites and other modes and if any such fake scheme was identified, immediate action be taken by informing the police.

Modus operandi

  • The modus operandi is to use the names similar to government schemes with a minor change in spelling and operating “phishing sites”
  • To dupe people, logos of government schemes, photos of prime minister, ministers, etc in their websites are shown to display the affiliation with the government
  • These agencies are extorting money from people by alluring them with promises of giving jobs, issuing appointment letters on fake government letterheads and fake allocation of distributorship
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