November 14, 2018

Spam messages flood mobile apps: PTA, FIA Cybercrime Wings to act after receiving complaint

News Source: The News

Writer: Jawwad Rizvi

 

LAHORE: Spam messages have flooded the WhatsApp and other communication applications to get back the used mobile phone balance which could be a mega cyber crime scam in country.

However, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) cybercrime wing say they will act once they receive any complaint.

Since the Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the mobile companies to suspend the tax collections from the users and instructed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to evolve a policy on it, the messages containing some website address are circulating through SMS, WhatsApp messages or other social media platforms to get back your used mobile balance by clicking on the web link.

Once the user clicks the given link a webpage opens where a form is displayed. The form asks the following information, user’s full name, mobile number, gives option to select the network, and then asks the cash amount. Besides, whenever, one opens the link it gives a message like ‘Hurry Up! Only five Requests Left Today, Balance Processed Today: Rs2,258,100’. One such website http://winpk.live/ is also operating. Every time when a user clicks on the link the webpage opens and gives the same above message, expect change of amount it distributed today. Further, once you enter the data, it asks to invite more 15 numbers through WhatsApp message. The message opens ‘You need to Share on WhatsApp 15 Friends/Groups (One by One) to tell about Rs400 Free Balance’ and gives two minutes time to send invite. Once you have completed the task the message circulated to 15 groups or individuals to get balance. After sending it to 15 groups or individuals, the message received to individual as ‘Winkpk.live says, Thank you for using our site, we have received your Rs400 free balance request. Your order number is EVIE8. Recharge will be completed in the next three days. If you have not shared on WhatsApp or Facebook you will not get balance. Remember don’t delete the messages or post until order confirmation’.

The IT experts said that there would be multiple frauds of such spamming and websites. One of the major targets to get the information details of individuals to misuse the data. One major task is to sell the number data, besides using for the other purposes too by integrating with other different type of available data about the individual users with them. In number of cases such activities unearthed as financial cybercrime, they said.

Deputy Director Cybercrime Wing FIA, Khalid Anees said that so far no complaint is received to the Agency on the issue in which someone has lodged complaint about fraud and loss of money. ‘The FIA itself could not initiate action on any cybercrime related matters until any complaint is registered’, he said. Furthermore, for FIA it is vital that someone become complainant to initiate inquiry and investigation as agency is not empowered to initiate a suo motu on cybercrime, he added. Additionally, the Agency cybercrime wing is already working on number of cases, he said adding that the commoners had already fallen prey to financial cybercrime activities in which criminal portrayed them Army or Nadra officials and used to get sensitive financial data and deprived them of huge amount.

Spokesperson for the PTA, Zaib-un-Nisa said that no such complaint was registered with the Authority. ‘Send the details to the Authority and we will investigate the matter’, she said, adding that issue would be sent to department concerned to investigate.

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