The Delhi Police is all set to sign an MoU with caller ID verification platform Truecaller to help the public identify verified numbers and protect themselves from cyber frauds and scams relating to impersonation in the name of government officials. In addition to educating Delhiites and holding a joint awareness campaign against cyber frauds, Truecaller will soon help display official numbers of the Delhi Police representatives on the app’s government directory services, police said. ”During the Covid pandemic, Truecaller had helped us a lot because there were a lot of scams and frauds reported then on the pretext of selling oxygen cylinders, concentrators, medicines and other essentials associated with treatment of the deadly virus. So, then our officials identified the number of those fraudsters and alerted Truecaller which displayed those unverified numbers as spam,” Suman Nalwa, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Public Relations Officer), told PTI. ”Now we are signing an MOU with them following which they will verify all the official contact numbers of the Delhi Police since fraudsters have many times posed as officials of the force and extorted money from the public by displaying picture of senior officers on their WhatsApp profile,” she said. ”This will help users identify verified numbers and protect them from frauds and scams relating to impersonation in the name of government officials. All verified numbers of Delhi Police will have a green badge and a blue tick mark, with a government service tag highlighting that it has been verified for users,” Nalwa added.
According to officials, Truecaller will also mark the phone numbers furnished by the Delhi Police against whom it has received complaints regarding harassment, scam or other registered issues. This will help Delhiites protect themselves and alert them in case these numbers continue to remain active. Earlier this week, a 22-year-old Indian based in Italy was arrested for allegedly posing as the Vice President of India by creating a fake WhatsApp account using Jagdeep Dhankhar’s picture as his profile display to dupe people and seek favours from senior bureaucrats. The accused, Gagandeep Singh, who is living in Offanengo, Italy since 2007 with his family, got the idea of impersonation after watching several YouTube videos.
In another case, three men who posed as officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Crime Branch of Delhi Police were arrested for allegedly extorting Rs 1.8 crore from a retired commandant of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force by threatening to post an obscene video of him on social media platforms. ”As per the MoU, we will have to share our official contact numbers for inclusion in the government directory services feature. We will also need to alert Truecaller about the latest cybercrime threats and trends and share numbers on spam or scam on a regular basis,” she said. Besides this, Truecaller will also help in generating awareness about cyber safety by conducting cyberwise training sessions with the assistance of Delhi Police. It will help educating the public about better ways to tackle cyber fraud. It will also disseminate the Delhi Police-cyber safety videos through the online cyber safety curriculum created by Truecaller which will share push notifications to users within the app about Delhi Police’s initiatives on cyber safety, important helpline numbers and their highlights.