June 25, 2024

Taking proactive steps is key to shielding yourself against these frauds. (Representational)

Recently, the Cyber Cell of Delhi Police apprehended Ramandeep Singh (26) on charges related to a virtual credit card fraud, which was perpetrated using the KIWI application. After receiving a complaint from Surinder Singh, a resident of Vasant Kunj, law enforcement traced Ramandeep’s activities back to Fazilka, Punjab. The fraud sum was revealed to be Rs 58 lakh, acquired by Ramandeep through creating virtual credit cards using PAN tied to assorted mobile numbers and Gmail IDs. During their investigation, police seized proof encompassing six mobile phones, 121 SIM cards, various identification papers, ATM cards, and one laptop. According to Millennium Post, Ramandeep admitted to taking part in the swindle.

Defining Virtual Credit Card Fraud

Virtual Credit Card Fraud comprises illicit schemes where the culprits exploit credit card information for carrying out unauthorized transactions and other financial maneuvers.

How does the Fraud work?

Below is a quick snapshot of the common modus operandi of virtual credit card scams:

  • Creation of Virtual Credit Cards: Fraudsters use personal details, including credit card information or PAN numbers, acquired through illicit means to generate virtual credit cards. They often employ legitimate apps or service providers for this purpose.

  • Linkage to Numerous Accounts: The scammers link these virtual credit cards to a plethora of mobile numbers, email IDs, or other online accounts, making it difficult to track their activities.

  • Taking Advantage of Credit Limits: Once the setup is complete, fraudsters exploit arranged credit limits, leading to unauthorized online purchases, fund transfers, among other transactions.

  • Performing Fund Transfers and Withdrawals: Scammers move the fraudulently obtained funds from the virtual credit cards to their personal bank accounts using different payment gateways, which they may utilize for personal reasons or transfer to other accounts.

  • Detection of Fraud: Scam Victims normally unearth the fraudulent transactions when they notice unauthorized charges on the linked credit cards connected to the virtual cards.

Common Varieties of Virtual Credit Card Scams

Below are some commonly occurring types of virtual credit card frauds:

  • Phishing Scams: These involve criminals sending fraudulent emails, messages, or websites impersonating legitimate virtual credit card service providers.

  • Fraudulent Virtual Card Services: Here, scammers create fictitious virtual credit card platforms asking users to share sensitive data such as credit card details.

  • Unlawful Creation of Virtual Cards: Fraudsters leverage personal information like credit card details or PAN numbers to create virtual credit cards without the knowledge of the original cardholder.

  • Account Takeover: In this scenario, digital criminals successfully access individual’s virtual credit card accounts, make modifications, add new cards, or instigate unauthorized transactions.

  • Tech Support Scams: Scammers impersonate as representatives of virtual credit card support, reaching out to users and luring them to allow remote access to their devices.

  • Malevolent Application-based Scams: Certain malicious mobile applications claiming to offer virtual credit card services. They primary function is to gather sensitive data or execute fraudulent transactions.

  • Social Engineering: Here criminals manipulate people into revealing sensitive data, like credit card information or login essentials.

  • Online Purchase Scams: Fraudsters may request payment via virtual credit cards for goods or services that they do not intend to deliver.

  • Account Hacking and Unlawful Fund Transfers: Offenders can illegally access a user’s virtual credit card account, alter settings, and initiate transfers sans consent from the cardholder.

  • Sim-Swap Attacks: Scammers can slyly transfer a victim’s phone number to a new SIM card, which gives them access to two-factor authentication codes, potentially compromising virtual credit card accounts.

  • Malware and Keylogging: Harmful software, known as Malware, is used to infect devices and record sensitive information, including particulars of the virtual credit card.

How Can You Safeguard Yourself?

Prevention is the most effective form of protection against virtual credit card scams. Some preventive measures include:

  • Safeguard Your Personal Data: Keep your credit card details, PAN number, and other sensitive information secure.

  • Use Reputable Platforms: Stick to using well-established virtual credit card platforms. Always research and read reviews before trusting such services.

  • Monitor Your Accounts Regularly: Routinely check your credit card statements for any unauthorised charges and set up transaction alerts.

  • Beware Of Phishing Attempts: Always be vigilant while responding to suspicious mails or messages asking for your credit card information. Always double-check before sharing such information.

  • Use Two-Factor Authentication: This adds an extra layer of security to your accounts.

  • Update Your Devices And Software: Use strong, unique passwords for your online accounts, including your virtual credit card account.

  • Check Your credit Report Regularly: Look out for any unauthorized activities or transactions.

  • Educate Yourself: Stay updated on common fraudulent practices and tactics. Do not share personal information on public platforms.

  • Use Secure Wi-Fi Connections: Try not to transact on public Wi-Fi networks and always use secure, password-protected networks for online activities.

  • Report Suspicious Activities: If you notice any unauthorized transaction or suspect fraud, immediately report it to your credit card provider and concerned authorities.

By staying alert and implementing these precautionary measures, you can reduce the risk of falling prey to virtual credit card scams!