Fake Government Recruitment Scam: Fraudulent “Punjab Police Constable Recruitment” Website

Fake Government Recruitment Scam: Fraudulent “Punjab Police Constable Recruitment” Website

Fake Government Recruitment Scam: Fraudulent “Punjab Police Constable Recruitment” Website:

Government job is considered a prized possession. With growing population, these recruitments see very stiff competition in India. The number of persons competing for these limited posts hugely exceeds the final vacancies. 

As a result, fraudster now-a-days even go to extent of even creating fake websites in name of government recruitment. They aim to de-fraud people in name of fake application fees, processing charges, postal cost etc. 

These websites are quickly spotted by Law Enforcement Authorities as fraudulent, but at times these websites become successful in defrauding people of millions of rupees before getting neutralized. The following write-up discusses, one such attempt to de-fraud people in Punjab in name of Punjab police constable recruitment. 

Fake Website: 
Fraudsters created fake website - punjabpolicerecruitments.com - in name of recruitment of constables (District Police Cadre and Armed Police Cadre). To lure attract people to the fraudulent website, fake advertisement were floated by scammers. 

Fake Advertisement - Advertisement/Constables-2020/Male & Female/PP:
Online applications are invited for direct recruitment from Indian nationals using the website www.punjabpolicerecruitments.com, to fill up the following vacancies of male and female constables in the (1) District Police Cadre and (2) Armed Police Cadre, of Punjab Police, in the Pay Band of Rs. 10300-34800 + Grade Pay Rs. 3200/-, and other allowances as admissible.

However, as per State government instructions (no.7/204/2012-4FP1/66 dated 15.01.2015), during the probation period, they will only be eligible for fixed emoluments, i.e. equivalent to the minimum of the Pay band. During the probation period, they would not be entitled to any grade pay, annual increments or any other allowances, except TA. As per Cabinet decision (30.4.2020), the probation period of all fresh appointees would be 3 years.

POSTING/ DEPLOYMENT: 
Selected candidate(s) can be posted/deployed anywhere in Punjab, India or abroad, on the orders of the Director General of Police, Punjab or any other officer authorized in this regard according to the exigencies of job and its manifold requirements. The candidate shall not have any right or lien to a particular place/district/area, in or outside the State of Punjab, in this regard.

ONLINE COMMON APPLICATION FORM (CAF): 
The online application form can be filled up from 9:00 a.m. 14.06.2020 till 11:59 p.m. on 02.07.2020 on website www.punjabpolicerecruitments.com. Candidates are advised to apply online and well-in-advance without waiting for the last date of submission of online Common Application Form (CAF). It is made clear that no offline Common Application form or copy of downloaded Application form will be accepted or acted upon at any Range/ Zonal/ Commissionerate Recruitment Centre or other Police office. 

The candidates are advised to submit ONLY SINGLE ONLINE APPLICATION for the post of Constable as the recruitment process would start at all Recruitment Centres at the same time on the same date. However, if somehow, the candidate manages to submit multiple online applications, only his first application shall be entertained and fee paid against one Application shall not be adjusted against any other Application. 

TENTATIVE VACANCIES IN THE DISTRICT POLICE CADRE & ARMED POLICE CADRE:
Please note that the vacancies indicated in the Chart above, and their proposed allocation as given in Para – 3 below are tentative in nature, and are liable to change (increase/decrease) during the course of the recruitment process, as per current needs & requirements. Thus these vacancies merely indicate the number of posts to be filled up by the concerned Range/ Zonal/ Commissionerate Recruitment Board, and thus they do not confer any right on the candidate to serve in that particular district where he has appeared in his PMT/PST tests and Interview- Cum-Personality Test. It is also to be noted that the vacancies of District Cadre also include the vacancies of GRP (Government Railway Police), which is a part of District Cadre.

DISTRICT POLICE CADRE & ARMED POLICE CADRE:
The present recruitment is being carried out to fill-up available vacancies in both District Police Cadre and Armed Police Cadre, which are two separate cadres, and have been defined in the Punjab Police Act, 2007. This Act prohibits any transfers or movement between the two cadres, i.e. District Police Cadre and Armed Police Cadre. As per section 4 (b) of Punjab Police Act - 2007, the candidates finally selected as a result of the present recruitment process shall not be entitled for any transfers out of the Cadre (District Police/ Armed Police) to which they are allotted. 

While submitting the Common Application Form (CAF) on web-portal www.punjabpolicerecruitments.com, the candidates will be asked to specify whether they want 
to apply for 
(i)    District Police Cadre only 
(ii)    Armed Police Cadre only 
(iii)    Both District Police Cadre and Armed Police Cadre 

Therefore, the candidates are requested to examine the Vacancy Table given above carefully before exercising their choice or giving their options.   

Note: 
Allocation between the District Police Cadre and Armed Police cadre will be made on the basis of the option given by the candidate and his Merit Position in the State wide Combined Merit List, which would be derived from marks obtained by him/her in Physical Measurement Test, 10+2 marks and Interview-cum Personality Test.

RESERVATION OF SEATS: 
According to instructions issued by the Punjab Government from time to time, 21% of available vacancies will stand reserved for candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, 10% for candidates belonging to Backward Classes, 13% seats for Ex-Servicemen candidates OR wife/one dependent child of Ex-Servicemen, (where applicable); [of which 7% Ex-servicemen (General), 4% Ex-servicemen(SC), 2% Ex-servicemen (BC)]. In addition, 2% of seats are reserved for wards of Police Personnel and 1% seats for wards of Freedom Fighters.

As per State government instructions, recruitment against 3% vacancies reserved for sports persons shall be carried out separately for which a separate advertisement shall be given by the Sports department of Punjab. The vacancies equivalent to 3% have been deducted from the total number of vacancies and recruitment would be done against the remaining vacancies. However, the sportspersons are eligible to apply here also but no extra benefit/reservation shall be admissible to them on the basis of their achievements in Sports.

SELECTION PROCESS: 
Range/ Commissionerate Recruitment Boards shall conduct the recruitments for male candidates at each Range/ Commissionerate headquarters and the Zonal Recruitment Boards shall conduct the recruitment for Female candidates at each Zonal Headquarters. The Physical Measurement Test (PMT) and the Physical Screening Test (PST) of a candidate shall be conducted on a single day, and the entire process shall be got video-graphed. The candidates will apply at a particular Range/ Zonal/ Commissionerate Recruitment Centre for their Recruitment Tests to be conducted, which will include the PMT, PST and the Interview-cum-Personality Test. Only candidates who clear the PMT and PST will be called for interview on the statewide merit list. Please also see Para – 9 also for additional details ……………….

(Material from earlier advertisements of Punjab Police had been used to mislead the public).

How to Spot Fake Government Job Websites:

Non .gov.in Extension:

Domain names are composed of several different parts and are read from right to left. At the far right of the domain name, you’ll find what’s called a TLD (top level domain), or the domain name extension. Generic top-level domains are the .com, .org, .net, or other extensions you find after the final period in the domain name.

For Indian government website the Top Level Domains are usually - .gov.in. However, in this case the top level domain name was .com which stands for commercial. It is extremely implausible for government to use .com extension instead of .gov.in. 

Therefore, if any government recruitment website has any extension other .gov.in beware. Go into the minute details carefully, before making any payment. 

Registrant Details:

By navigating to the link https://viewdns.info/whois/?domain=xxx where xxx represent the domain name under question, you can find the registrant’s detail. 

For xxx = punjabpolicerecruitments.com

WHOIS Information for punjabpolicerecruitments.com
==============
Domain Name: punjabpolicerecruitments.com
Registry Domain ID: 2517870955_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com
Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com
Updated Date: 2020-04-23T12:16:49Z
Creation Date: 2020-04-23T12:16:48Z

Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2021-04-23T12:16:48Z
Registrar: GoDaddy.com, LLC
Registrar IANA ID: 146
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: abuse@godaddy.com
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.4806242505
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited http://www.icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited http://www.icann.org/epp#clientUpdateProhibited
Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited http://www.icann.org/epp#clientRenewProhibited
Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited http://www.icann.org/epp#clientDeleteProhibited
Registrant Organization:
Registrant State/Province: Jalisco
Registrant Country: IN
Registrant Email: Select Contact Domain Holder link at https://www.godaddy.com/whois/results.aspx?domain=punjabpolicerecruitments.com
Admin Email: Select Contact Domain Holder link at https://www.godaddy.com/whois/results.aspx?domain=punjabpolicerecruitments.com
Tech Email: Select Contact Domain Holder link at https://www.godaddy.com/whois/results.aspx?domain=punjabpolicerecruitments.com
Name Server: NS-1671.AWSDNS-16.CO.UK
Name Server: NS-94.AWSDNS-11.COM
Name Server: NS-754.AWSDNS-30.NET
Name Server: NS-1378.AWSDNS-44.ORG
DNSSEC: unsigned
URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System: http://wdprs.internic.net/
>>>Last update of WHOIS database: 2020-06-15T12:00:00Z<<<
For more information on Whois status codes, please visit https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/epp-status-codes-2014-06-16-en

Notes:

IMPORTANT: Port43 will provide the ICANN-required minimum data set per
ICANN Temporary Specification, adopted 17 May 2018.
Visit https://whois.godaddy.com to look up contact data for domains
not covered by GDPR policy.

The data contained in GoDaddy.com, LLC's WhoIs database,
while believed by the company to be reliable, is provided "as is"
with no guarantee or warranties regarding its accuracy. This
information is provided for the sole purpose of assisting you
in obtaining information about domain name registration records.

Any use of this data for any other purpose is expressly forbidden without the prior written
permission of GoDaddy.com, LLC. By submitting an inquiry,
you agree to these terms of usage and limitations of warranty. In particular,
you agree not to use this data to allow, enable, or otherwise make possible,
dissemination or collection of this data, in part or in its entirety, for any
purpose, such as the transmission of unsolicited advertising and
and solicitations of any kind, including spam. You further agree
not to use this data to enable high volume, automated or robotic electronic
processes designed to collect or compile this data for any purpose,
including mining this data for your own personal or commercial purposes.

Please note: the registrant of the domain name is specified
in the "registrant" section. In most cases, GoDaddy.com, LLC
is not the registrant of domain names listed in this database. 

The registrant details are further hidden. Criminals do it deliberately by using privacy services or by using domain service provider that mask the “Registrant details” by default like internet.bs or Njal.la. Though this is not always the case, but this step should always be executed.

Since here the registrant details are hidden, therefore it raises suspicion further. Similarly, the process can be used for other websites too. 

Creation and Updation Date:
Clearly, the website – “punjabpolicerecruitment.com” has been created and updated on 23/4/2020 i.e. very recently. However, any government recruitment website is expected to be much older. Therefore, clearly the website is fishy.

Similarly, by using this step you can infer the genuineness of any recruitment website in question.

Alexa Rank:
You can further check the Alexa rank of the website, by navigating to the link https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/xxx 
For xxx = punjabpolicerecruitment.com 

Clearly, No Results indicates that either the website is too new or gets very limited traffic, which should ideally not be case for government websites. 

Wayback Machine:
Fake websites change crucial identifiable details like phone number, mail ID regularly. Therefore, it’s advisable to look into previous version of the website through https://archive.org/web. 

In case, the previous version of the website has already been archived, tap on the particular date to see the version of the website on that particular date. 

Wappalyer Extension:
Wappalyzer is a utility that uncovers the technologies used on websites. It detects content management systems, ecommerce platforms, web frameworks, server software, analytics tools and many more.URL: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/wappalyzer/gppongmhjkpfnbhagpmjfkannfbllamg?hl=en

These fake websites are often created poorly and therefore exhibit several vulnerabilities including excessive disclosure of technologies used on the website. So, if the website in question discloses too much crucial information like web server, programming language, their version etc it means the website owners don’t care much about long term security of the website. It portrays the website in negative light.   

Other Signs of Fake/ Fraudulent Websites:

  • Presence of contradictory information at different places on the website. 
  • “Terms of use” and “Privacy policy” page are missing. 
  • Limited content: A genuine website displays complete details, to prove it’s credibility and genuineness. If you find crucial details missing, be cautious! 
  • Grammar and punctuation errors, using stolen or stock images, fake certificates etc are indicators of lack of professionalism and signs of being fraudulent. 
  • If website reviews suggest fake/ fraudulent website, do not engage further with the website. 

Offences Committed:
Section 463 of Indian Penal Code defines forgery as - Whoever makes any false documents or false electronic record or part of a document or electronic record, with intent to cause damage or injury, to the public or to any person, or to support any claim or title, or to cause any person to part with property, or to enter into any express or implied contract, or with intent to commit fraud or that fraud may be committed, commits forgery.

Since the fake advertisement has been created to cause financial damage to gullible citizens, it falls under ambit of forgery. 

Section 465 in The Indian Penal Code
Punishment for forgery: Whoever commits forgery shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Since, forgery has been committed to cheat ordinary citizens Section 468 of IPC will also be applicable to the case.  

Section 468 in The Indian Penal Code
Forgery for purpose of cheating: Whoever commits forgery, intending that the [document or electronic record forged shall be used for the purpose of cheating, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 471 in The Indian Penal Code
Using as genuine a forged [document or electronic record]: 
Whoever fraudulently or dishonestly uses as genuine any [document or electronic record] which he knows or has reason to believe to be a forged [document or electronic record], shall be punished in the same manner as if he had forged such [document or electronic record].

Section 420 in The Indian Penal Code
Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property: Whoever cheats and thereby dishonestly induces the person de­ceived to deliver any property to any person, or to make, alter or destroy the whole or any part of a valuable security, or anything which is signed or sealed, and which is capable of being converted into a valuable security, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Since, fraudster attempted to cheat citizens by personating as recruiters of constables, and used website to for the same, therefore Section 66 D of IT Act will also be applicable. 

Section 66D in The Information Technology Act, 2000
Punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resource: Whoever, by means for any communication device or computer resource cheats by personating, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees.

Will get Money Refund in these Frauds?
RBI guideline says - In cases where the loss is due to negligence by a customer, such as where he has shared the payment credentials, the customer will bear the entire loss until he reports the unauthorized transaction to the bank. Any loss occurring after the reporting of the unauthorized transaction shall be borne by the bank.

Therefore, if you have transferred the money into the scammer’s account willingly, as per the notification you will have to bear the entire loss. However, any loss occurring after the reporting of the unauthorized transaction shall be borne by the bank concerned.

Conclusion:
Fraudsters impersonate government website to have legitimacy in the eyes of public and then fool gullible citizens into paying money into their hands. Therefore, before doing financial transaction as processing fee, application fee etc, do check the authenticity of the website using the methods detailed above.  

For the above fraudulent website, an FIR has already been registered at the State Cyber Crime Cell, Mohali on charges of forgery, forgery for cheating, using a forged document as a genuine one, identity theft and cheating by personation by using computer resources.