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India 26-Mar, 2024

PhD Scholar from Hyderabad becomes victim of cyber fraud: Telangana records highest number of cyber crimes

By: Team India Tracker

PhD Scholar from Hyderabad becomes victim of cyber fraud: Telangana records highest number of cyber crimes

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Crime in India Report 2022, the total number of cases reported during the year was 65,893, showing an increase of 24.4 percent in registration over 2021 (52,974 cases). Image Source: IANS

The Telangana State Cyber Security Bureau (TSCSB) received reports on 9,661 cybercrimes, of which 8,088 involved financial theft.

Cybercriminals deceived a PhD candidate at IIT Hyderabad by posing as the sender of a drug-related package. They conned him out of thirty lakh, instilling in him the idea that terrorist groups are using sleeper cells against him and his family, and that terrorists have compromised his laptop and mobile phone. After receiving a report from the victim, the Cyber Crime section of the Cyberabad commissionerate opened a case and began an investigation.

The victim, who is in his mid-30s, said that he got a call from an unknown number stating that he had a courier scheduled with FedEx and that the package included drugs and passports. The caller advised the victim that an online complaint would be made and that the call would be forwarded to the Mumbai crime branch.

Additionally, the imposters informed him that they had filed a money laundering complaint against the victim and that he had dubious bank accounts connected to terror mastermind Mohd Nawab Malik. Along with giving him police IDs and a fictitious FIR, they also kept him essentially in his house for six days.

Cybercriminals stole Rs. 157 crore from Telangana's citizens in February 2024. The Telangana State Cyber Security Bureau (TSCSB) received reports on 9,661 cybercrimes, of which 8,088 involved financial theft. Official data shows that in February, 7,672 incidents in the top five Modus Operandi (MO) caused losses over Rs 119 crore. Of this, just around Rs 5 crore have been frozen thus far.

Identity theft topped the list with 3,143 occurrences, with credit/debit card fraud, Aadhar Enabled Payment System (AePS) fraud, and fraudulent customer care service scams using FedEx, Blue Dart, banks, and other parcel delivery businesses being the most common perpetrators.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Crime in India Report 2022, the total number of cases reported during the year was 65,893, showing an increase of 24.4 percent in registration over 2021 (52,974 cases). Crime rate under this category increased from 3.9 in 2021 to 4.8 in 2022. During 2022, 64.8 percent of cyber-crime cases registered were for the motive of fraud (42,710 out of 65,893 cases) followed by Extortion with 5.5 percent (3,648 cases) and Sexual Exploitation with 5.2 percent (3,434 cases). This was the highest number of cases of cyber-crime reported in a year till date. The chargesheeting rate in the cyber-crime cases was just 29.6 percent.

Source: National Crime Records Bureau

The highest number of cyber-crime cases were reported from the state of Telangana. The southern state reported 15,297 cases of cyber-crimes in 2022 followed by Karnataka (12,556) and Uttar Pradesh (10,117). Karnataka had reported 8,136 cases of cyber-crime in 2021 while Uttar Pradesh had reported 8,829 cases.

Cyber fraud, commonly referred to as online fraud or internet fraud, is a crime in which a victim is defrauded of money through the internet. Fraudsters can target a person and get in touch with them via SMS, call, email, or other methods in order to obtain personal information. They can also send a malicious link to websites or apps in order to break into a computer, mobile device, or network and obtain sensitive data like bank account numbers, credit card information, social security numbers, and personal information.

The data from National Crime Records Bureau clearly shows that the cases of cybercrime in India are rising at an alarming rate. The cases of cybercrime nearly doubled from 27,248 in 2018 to 44,735 in 2019. The highest number of cybercrime case were registered in the year 2022.

When it comes to the motivation behind cybercrime, deception was the most prevalent reason, accounting for 32,230 of the 52,974 cybercrime incidents that were reported. In terms of motives, extortion (2,883) and sexual exploitation (4,555) came after fraud. In 2021, there were 73,884 cases that required inquiry in total. In 21,229 cybercrime instances, the accused was released on the basis of either insufficient evidence or being untraceable and lacking in hints. Although the figures show how serious the increase in cybercrime is, it is concerning since they are based only on occurrences that have been recorded. Therefore, the true number of cybercrime occurrences would be far larger if we included the cases that go unreported.

On Monday, March 4, 2024, Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Union Minister for Railways, Communications, Electronics, and Information Technology, introduced two new portals from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to check financial fraud and cybercrime. Real-time intelligence sharing between law enforcement agencies, banks, financial intermediaries like PhonePe, telecom service providers, social media firms like Telegram and WhatsApp, and document issuing institutions is made possible by the Digital Intelligence Platform (DIP), a backend module. A number that is used in fraud will be immediately shared with all parties involved and blocked on all of their platforms.

Although citizens cannot access this portal, it serves as the backend repository for requests made by citizens on the Sanchar Saathi portal. The Sanchar Saathi portal has a feature called Chakshu, which translates as "an eye" in Hindi. This is the other portal. Users can report communications that they believe to be fraudulent that they receive over WhatsApp, SMS, or phone calls. The user who reported the issue will be asked to re-verify their number by the system upon receipt of this information, and if they are unable to do so, their number will be disconnected.

In collaboration with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Department of Financial Services, the DoT is also working on establishing a grievance redressal portal to report connections that were inadvertently disconnected and to reimburse citizens for money that was frozen in their accounts.

In September 2023, I-hub NTIHAC foundation (c3ihub) at IIT Kanpur developed a methodology and tool for apprehending cybercriminals' modes of operation in a crime execution lifecycle with assistance from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), GoI under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical Systems (NM-ICPS). With the help of the created framework and tool for investigating cybercrime, which is now prepared for deployment with the police, cybercriminals may be quickly tracked down and prosecuted, resulting in a decrease in the prevalence of cybercrime across the nation.

The Rajasthani district of Bharatpur has been the source of the most cybercrimes in the nation during the past three years. According to data received from the home ministry, Jamtara in Jharkhand has been supplanted as India's newest cybercrime hotspot by the Mewat region, which includes Bharatpur and Alwar in Rajasthan, Mathura district in UP, and Nuh in Haryana. The most notorious cities are Bharatpur at the top, Mathura at number two, and Nuh at number three. Alwar and Gurugram in Haryana are ranked six and seven, respectively. The data indicates that this region near the National Capital Region is now the origin of 54.1 percent of all cybercrimes reported in India.

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