FRAUDALERT
The antivirus app installed on your mobile device is expected to protect you, right? But what if the same app is also handing over your browser history to a major marketing company?

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Mumbai-based Shishir Kumar (name changed), a retired director of a public sector unit (PSU), wanted to dabble in online trading. By clicking a link on a Facebook ad, he was added to a WhatsApp group. He was also 'trained' by experts representing a foreign investment firm.

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Everybody loves watching videos. You click on an exciting video shared by someone or find it on YouTube. The video seems legitimate, featuring a well-known personality and good production quality. You think, why not watch and check it out? However, the video could include a link that leads to a malicious webpage which may download and install malware on your device.

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Last month, after his deepfake video went viral on the internet, criticising prime minister Narendra Modi over unemployment and inflation, Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh reacted by saying, ''Deepfake se bacho dostonnnn".

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Last year, the Darwin Platform group of companies, owned by 'Prince of Sultanpur' Ajay Harinath Singh, bought Lavasa, the picturesque hill station city in Maharashtra, through the bankruptcy resolution process for just Rs1,814 crore to be paid over eight years.

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The concept of the golden hour plays a very crucial and important role in our lives, be it for prompt medical and surgical treatment to prevent death after an accident or clicking magical photos during the golden hour shortly after sunrise or before sunset.

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Last week, a former colleague called to seek guidance on handling calls she had received on WhatsApp from a 'police inspector'. She says the 'police inspector' told her that they had arrested a few youngsters in a rape case and wanted to know the whereabouts of her daughter.

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In 2009, Germany, technologically one of the most advanced nations, ended electronic voting with the Federal Constitutional Court finding that the inability to have meaningful public scrutiny meant that electronic voting was unconstitutional.

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The year 2024 is a very special one. As many as 76 out of 196 countries are going to hold elections this year, in which nearly 4bn (billion) or 400 crore voters will participate. What will make these elections different is the manner in which politicians will reach out to voters.

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An hour after Himanshu Singh dropped off his son for a joint entrance exam (JEE) mock test, he received a call from a 'police inspector' saying his son had been caught with a gang of rapists and demanded Rs30,000 through Paytm to clear his name. Mr Singh also heard his son's voice seeking help and requesting him to pay the money. He went ahead and paid Rs10,000.

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Everyone who runs any business, big or small, wants to ride the artificial intelligence (AI) wave of using chatbots to help resolve consumer issues. Such interactions with AI chatbots often leave consumers frustrated by their bland, repetitive and standard responses. Then again, human customer care executives often behave the same and provide similar responses.

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Tata Restart not only misuses the Tata brand name but also mischievously uses images of former group chairman Ratan Tata, to promote a typical get-rich-quick investment plan.

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A few days ago, Bollywood actor Vidya Balan filed a first information report (FIR) against a person who was running a fake Instagram account in her name. According to the police, the person used the account to extort money from people in the film industry.

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It is a standard bus stop in a city. One person with a red velvet rope creates a section for seating at the bus stop. He labels it as a VIP section and charges a fee. Three curious commuters pay the charges and tightly sit on the bench meant for two people.

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Delhi-based Ashish Kumar Tomer received a message on WhatsApp offering him the opportunity to earn money by rating restaurants on Google. The sender claimed to be from Career Builder Ltd. When he accepted the offer, he was added to a Telegram group. After completing some rating 'tasks', he was asked to 'invest' more money to complete tasks with more rewards. Then, he was added to another Telegram group, where he was offered huge returns on investment.

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A few days ago, one of my friends, working in a reputed organisation and earning a good salary, received a WhatsApp message offering a job opportunity to earn Rs3,000 per day just by clicking ratings on Google Maps to increase the client's business reputation. This is just one example of the messages sent out by fraudsters and cybercriminals to lure and then dupe gullible people.

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Last month, a 70-year-old senior journalist from Bengaluru received a call on WhatsApp informing her about a parcel being sent from Mumbai to Taiwan in her name that contained 240 grams of MDMA (drug), credit cards and passports. When she denied it, the caller said that her Aadhaar was being used for sending the parcel and a case had been registered against her.

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Last month, the national consumer disputes redressal commission (NCDRC) directed HDFC Bank Ltd to refund Rs24,000 with an interest of 7%pa (per annum) and pay Rs10,000 litigation cost to a customer whose credit card was used for fraudulent transactions at midnight. What stands out in this ruling is the way the customer filed his complaint and his meticulous follow-up until he got justice.

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Rakesh Chandra, a recently retired officer from the Indian Forest Service (IFS), received a call from someone claiming to be an officer from the treasury department. During the call, Mr Chandra shared all his banking details with the caller. When he eventually realised it was a fraud call, Mr Chandra had lost nearly Rs29 lakh that he had received as pension settlement.

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