Tricity grapples with a new epidemic: cybercrime

Not a day goes by that UT police don’t register a case of cybercrime. Police say if this continues, cyber crimes will be at the top of the crime chart in Chandigarh. In the first four months of this very year, the city police recorded 70% of FIRs related to cybercrimes, compared to 2021.

A look at the statistics of the Cybercrime Investigation Unit (CCIC) of the Chandigarh Police shows a total of 5,922 complaints and 67 FIRs related to cybercrimes in 2021. A total of 2,130 complaints (which represents 35 % of total complaints received) and 47 FIRs (70% of total FIRs filed) have already been registered between January 1 and April 30 this year. At least 1,550 of the 2,130 complaints received this year relate to fraudulent transactions, online transactions asking for a PIN, debit/credit card details, etc. In addition to this, they also received 519 complaints related to harassment, abusive calls, messages via WhatsApp, IMO, VOIP calls, etc.

“The maximum number of FIRs that we record these days is for cybercrimes. This is one of the reasons, among others, for the increasing number of cybercrime-related cases. We are able to arrest those involved in these cases from remote locations. many levels. People are aware of cybercrime. But there is still a lot to do. We need to do a lot of work at many levels if we want to create a cybercrime-free city,” said SP (Cyber) Ketan Bansal.

Chandigarh is a member of Group 5 of the Joint Cybercrime Coordination Team (JCCT). Other States/UTs in the JCCT-5 group include Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir. A high-level JCCT-5 meeting attended by DGPs from many states as well as Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) officers took place last month in Chandigarh.

“The objective behind holding these high-level meetings is to increase efficiency and improve coordination between the various investigative agencies. As we all know, financial frauds through online modes are the greatest threat at present in front of us. It involves many sectors including banks, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), social networking sites, etc. which require a lot of online and offline correspondence. In the meeting, we insist on following such a mechanism through which coordination among all institutes becomes smooth and flexible,” a senior police officer said. There are seven JCCTs, which include all states and UT.

“We have launched a full-fledged campaign called Cyber ​​Swashhata Mission in Chandigarh involving hundreds of students of computer science and related subjects as cyber interns at CCIC. Many surveys have been carried out. The modi operandi have been pre-selected, the reasons why people are increasingly falling into the traps of fraudsters, the solutions to cybercrimes and the techniques to solve the shortcomings of investigative agencies have been pre-selected,” said the Inspector Hari Om, Chief of Chandigarh Police CCIC.

No one is immune

In the two-month survey, many aspects were covered by the cyber-trainees. The investigation suggests people in all age groups from 15 to 80 were among the victims successfully and unsuccessfully targeted by the fraudsters. Interestingly, in many cases, timely information to cyber cell about hacking, sharing confidential details, etc. saved money.

UT Cyber ​​Cell sources said: “There are a number of instances where we received information moments after the crime. We immediately urged the management of the bank concerned to block the account number or freeze it, so that the money could not be withdrawn/transferred. In many incidents we have succeeded. The victims themselves can approach the banks.

1930 is the centralized number for the National Cybercrime Reporting Hotline. The number is linked to the control room of many states including Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana.

When the Indian Express called the helpline number, the response was only received from the Chandigarh office, which can be reached by dialing extension 3. There was no response for 1 and 2, to reach the Punjab and Haryana police stations, respectively.

“Cybercriminals are resourceful. They are also technologically advanced. Although the numbers of cybercrimes have increased, most crimes go unreported due to social stigma and a reason why cybercriminals remain unscathed. In addition, there is no stratification of geographical boundaries. They operate worldwide and do not need to be physically present on site. This complexity makes it more difficult for the LEA to fully combat this threat,” Gurcharan Singh, Head of Cyber ​​Faculty at Central Detective Training School (CDTS), Sector 26, told The Indian Express in an interview last month. latest.

Gurcharan Singh’s sighting was evident from the fact that Vikas alias Vicky (23) from Fatehabad in Haryana arrested by Chandigarh Cyber ​​Cell was found linked to at least 1,352 cybercrime cases reported across the country on May 9.

Eight mobile phones and four International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers seized from Vikas have been uploaded to the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Center (ICCC) portal. The portal found the figures related to 1,352 cybercrime cases. The ICCC is a centralized portal where police in each state/UT upload the numbers of seized cell phones along with their IMEI numbers. Vicky was arrested in connection with the fraud of Rs 83,979 from a woman on the pretext of refunding her the money linked to her SBI credit card on April 18.

Private Panchkula, Mohali too

Nearby towns including Panchkula and Mohali are also aware of the cyber crimes. According to ACP (Panchkula) Raj Kumar Kaushik, at least 100 cases in which fraudsters deceived people simply under the guise of updating their Know Your Customer (KYC) information relating to their bank accounts have been reported only to Panchkula.

How to avoid being cheated

* Avoid sharing details such as bank details with strangers directly or over the phone.

* If you have been cheated, immediately call the free helpline 1930.

* If you do not receive a response from your bank after reporting fraud, contact the RBI Banking Ombudsman, Sector 17.

* Learn about online banking and transactions before using online banking.

KYC Details

A common way for fraudsters to obtain confidential information from people is to request their Know Your Customer (KYC) information, so they can continue their bank accounts, credit cards, etc. As more people share their information, fraudsters start making purchases online. They also demand a one-time password (OTP) which comes to the victim’s phone. RBI has repeatedly confirmed that no bank is allowed to collect KYC details from customers over the phone.

Dish TV recharge / coupons / phone bill payment

Text messages with a web link sent to people’s mobile phones inviting them to top up their satellite TV subscriptions, coupons or pay pending mobile bills. The link, once opened, will follow with instructions that require sharing confidential details. You are advised not to click on such unknown web links.

Extortion after befriending people on social media

Many organized gangs involving women are active and target people. Many older people have become victims of these gangs. A member usually befriends a member, often urging them to perform lewd acts during video calls using female faces. These videos are recorded and later used to blackmail and extort money.

AnyDesk link

AnyDesk, a mobile application that allows another user to view and interact with another computer system over the Internet, has been in use since the start of the pandemic, due to many organizations working from home. The link is sent to the victim’s phone, prompting them to click to update KYC details, pay mobile bills online, etc. UT has reported a dozen cases where people have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars by clicking on an AnyDesk link.

Paytm, GPay QR Codes

Fooling people into making payments through Paytm or GPay QR codes mainly occurs when shopping online or when paying to strangers. People are invited to initiate a payment of Rs 10, or less, and share the QR code with him. This establishes a link with the fraudster, who can hack into the bank account linked to the code and gain access to the money. However, it is not the same as paying a merchant via a QR code in a store. People are advised not to share QR codes with strangers.

Insurance plans, investments

Many retirees are covered by insurance plans. To gain victims’ trust, scammers transfer interest rates on money invested in victims’ accounts for the first few months, but stop making payments when victims invest a larger sum in the scheme. In some cases, scammers charge a fee if the victim wants their full amount, which will never be paid.

Bitcoin scams, instant loans providing apps

Investing in low-cost Bitcoins is popular among young people. There is no immediate remedy in cases of bitcoin cheating. Shibonk, Dogecoin and Titcoin along with two other cryptocurrencies are most famous among investors. It is easy for people to buy these cryptocurrencies. A number of instant loans providing high interest rate mobile apps are there. As one downloads the app, the contact list automatically goes to the managers. In case of non-payment of money, fake messages are sent to contacts.

SIM card theft, card swapping

The victim’s SIM card is stolen and placed in their handsets, gaining full control over online banking, etc. They change online banking password after visiting “Forgot Password” option. The OTP also lands in their handsets. ATM/debit card swapping mostly happens when someone doesn’t know how to use the machine properly. Criminals trade them under the guise of helping victims.

Steal profiles, hack emails

The suspects are creating fake profiles on Facebook using the details of genuine people and sending messages/emails to their contacts regarding emergency financial assistance. They mention bank accounts in messages/emails. In the recent past there have been many such cases reported, including profiles of serving and retired UT officers.

Job offers, plane tickets, visas

Fraudsters invite applications for jobs on the fake portals which match reputable portals providing jobs by changing the alphabets. They get bio-data, send them confirmation letters of jobs in foreign countries, multinationals and charge high fees.

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