Kolkata police raising awareness on cybercrimes with real-time info, dos and don’ts on billboards across city | Kolkata News | #cybercrime | #infosec

In a unique bid to combat the rising cybercrimes, the Kolkata police have taken to the streets, displaying real-time information and the latest trends in cybercrimes in various areas to grab citizens’ attention.

The police are deploying an area-specific campaign, utilising everything from local billboards and buses to community outreach programmes. They want to disseminate real-time information and prevent citizens from falling prey to cybercrimes, and this grassroots approach marks a significant shift in tackling cybercrime, said the police.

“Cybercrime is emerging as the most challenging for the Kolkata police for obvious reasons. We are witnessing more and different types of cybercrimes every now and then. It is important to create awareness,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Syed Waquar Raza.

About 50 LED display boards belonging to traffic police, Kolkata Municipal Corporation and private organisations have been identified. On these boards, messages regarding the latest cybercrimes are displayed with dos and don’ts to raise awareness.

“The best way to fight cybercrime is to prevent it by making people aware. That’s why we are focusing a lot on creating awareness. We are posting do’s and don’ts inside buses, autos, local malls, social media, and on our websites too,” said Raza.

Festive offer

Gone are the days when cyber fraud news mainly came from Jamtara in Jharkhand and Mewat in Haryana and cybercrime has become a nationwide menace. According to the Kolkata police, from bustling metropolises like Mumbai to the developing regions of Bihar and Karnataka, no corner of India seems immune to cybercrimes.

“Bharatpur in Rajasthan, Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, Gopalganj in Bihar, Dumka in Jharkhand and Kulti-Asansol in West Bengal are also on the list like Jamtara in the past. This alarming trend exposes the urgent need for increased vigilance and proactive measures to combat this pervasive threat,” added an official.

Citing one such example, an official said the Kolkata police’s cyber cell busted a gang from Tamil Nadu that, in the name of delivering medicines to doorsteps, had cheated a victim out of Rs 15,000-20,000.

As per the latest data of Kolkata police’s cyber cell, in 2021, 220 cyber cases were filed in 2021; 222 in 2022; 162 in 2023 and 25 so far in 2024.

“Be cautious of work-from-home scams on social media. Cybercriminals are luring people in with promises of easy money through stock investments. We warn that this is a tactic to steal your hard-earned cash. To stay safe, don’t click on links from strangers, especially those promising quick financial gain. If you’re interested in investing, do your research through reputable sources,” said Abhishek Modi, Deputy Commissioner of cyber cell, Lalbazar, Kolkata police headquarters.

The latest form of cybercrime in Kolkata and its surroundings involves offering work-from-home jobs and investing in stocks through social media.

“If you receive a message offering work-from-home jobs and investments with good returns, it may be a trap. In most cases, people are being targeted on the Telegram application. Cybercons lure people with work-from-home jobs and lucrative investments,” said Raza.

“The accused would add you to a Telegram group where investments are discussed. They would also add their accomplices to the group to share how they earned high profits by investing money through them. This way, they ask you to invest through them, and when you try to withdraw it, you realise you are being fooled,” said the police.

Similarly, cyber gangs are sending random messages offering good income by working from home. Once a person shows interest they send you a link for more details and the moment one clicks that link, the mobile is handled and thereafter, fraudsters transfer money from their account.

As per the police, tackling cybercrime is becoming a challenge as many seem to be repeat offenders who get released on bail. “Those who are arrested get bail in a few months, and there is a high possibility, and we have also seen that many times they are repeat offenders. Most of the cyber crime offenders are under 40 years old. They do it for easy money. Cybercrime is going to be a bigger challenge for police in the coming days as theft and dacoity are a matter of the past,” said Raza.

According to the police, some steps have been taken, such as adding additional features to its internal app sharing details of the latest cybercrime and modus operandi so that all police officials are aware of cybercrime in their area.

Cybercrimes: Dos and don’ts by Kolkata police

📌 Never share OTP/PIN/ password/CVV or personal details like date of birth, Aadhaar number, PAN number, ATM/ debit/ credit card number with an unknown person over phone, WhatsApp or messenger. It may lead you to a huge financial loss.

📌 Never click on any link sent by an unknown person. It may lead to your phone being hacked and your personal and financial details being stolen.

📌 Never download mobile apps based on the direction of any unknown person. It may lead to your screen being shared with him, resulting in losing your personal details. It may also cause financial loss.

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National Cyber Security