Spurt in cybercrimes: 103 FIRs, involving around Rs 17 crore, filed in 10 months | Chandigarh News | #cybercrime | #infosec

Till October 10 this year, Chandigarh has witnessed a sharp increase in first information reports (FIRs) related to cybercrimes, with the number now exceeding 100. A total of 103 FIRs have been filed, involving an estimated sum of around Rs 17 crore.

The majority of these FIRs are linked to cybercrimes such as task frauds and fraudulent calls from impersonators posing as customs officers. These cybercriminals build trust over phone calls, obtaining victims’ bank account details, insurance policy information, and OTPs.

In comparison, 2022 saw 144 FIRs registered, amounting to approximately Rs 19 crore. The UT Police cyber cell reports that they have received around 6,500 complaints related to cyber offences this year. Many of these complaints share similarities, leading to 103 FIRs being registered, with multiple complaints being consolidated into these cases.

Commenting on the surge in cybercrimes, SP (cyber) Ketan Bansal stated, “As the registration of FIRs has increased, we have also observed new trends in cybercrimes aimed at defrauding people. Two such trends are task frauds and fraudulent calls impersonating customs department officials. Victims in Chandigarh, including retired defence personnel, police officers, young doctors, IT professionals, housewives, and individuals from middle-class families, have collectively lost approximately Rs 16-17 crore to various types of cybercrimes. As the number of registered cyber crimes has increased, so has our ability to detect and address these cases.”

Task frauds involve fraudsters using telegram accounts to entice victims with small payments for simple tasks like ‘liking’ videos, providing online reviews, and sharing digital content on social media. Initially, victims receive payments in their accounts, but as they become involved, the fraudsters demand fees for larger tasks. Once the victims pay substantial fees, the fraudsters close their telegram accounts and disappear.

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In the case of impersonating customs officials, the fraudsters contact victims, claiming that their parcels have been intercepted and found to contain illegal substances. Innocent victims share their genuine information, such as Aadhaar card numbers, account numbers, and PAN numbers, and transfer money to prove authenticity of their accounts. Notable victims in Chandigarh this year include two doctors from PGI and GMCH-32, serving professors, and Army officers.

Solving cybercrime cases presents various challenges, including delays in obtaining information from banks where suspects hold accounts, the hideouts of cybercriminals in distant states such as Jharkhand, West Bengal, and UP, and occasional physical assaults by the relatives of suspects.

Recounting an incident, a cyber cell officer said: “In January, our team travelled to Jharkhand to apprehend a wanted cybercriminal, Yar Mohammed, a resident of Mathadangal village in Deoghar, Jharkhand. The accused’s father was the gram pradhan of at least 11 villages in that area. A furious mob attacked the UT cyber cell team with various weapons. We only managed to secure the custody of Yar Mohammed with the assistance of Jharkhand Police. Other challenges include identifying the bank accounts used by the actual fraudsters, recovering stolen funds spent by the fraudsters in most cases, and obtaining records from social media sites such as Facebook, X, YouTube, etc.”

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National Cyber Security