Cyber crimes up nearly 50% in Mumbai in 2022 over past year
Business is looking up for cybercriminals, as daily life transitions into the online space. The number of cybercrimes registered by Mumbai police in 2022 (till November) has moved northward – it stood at 4,286 as against 2,883 such offenses in 2021. That’s a rise of 49%.
According to the latest report, cases like cheating that include fraud relating to gifts, purchases, jobs, insurance/ provident fund, admissions, fake websites, investments, matrimonial matters, cryptocurrency, and loans rose to 1,961 in 2022 as against 1,154 in 2021. Similarly, debit and credit card frauds rose to 1,223 in 2022 compared to 1,075 the previous year.
To tackle the rising number of financial frauds, a helpline number ‘1930’ was introduced in May. Thanks to timely complaints received on this helpline, Rs 1.53 crore was recovered (till December 24, 2022) in 17,045 complaints received till December 25 from people who had lost money to online frauds.
Of of the total amount of Rs1.53 crore that was prevented from being credited into the wrong account, a chunky amount of Rs 44.5 lakh was saved on December 24 itself when a fraudster made a company director transfer the sum by using a fraud email that appeared similar to that of one of his clients. A timely call made to the helpline help got the beneficiary’s bank account frozen .
The latest frauds that are rising are part-time job fraud, crypto investment, insurance fraud, sextortion, and electricity bill fraud.
Deputy commissioner of police (Mumbai-Cyber) Balsing Rajput said timely action can save money from being pocketed in online fraud . “A victim should follow the following checklist when they call up the helpline,” said Rajput.
He claimed that the helpline has become a boon as the police get in touch with nodal officers and agencies and the money is saved at the earliest before the fraudster withdraws it.
“Even the team gets details of the account holders to whose account money credited helps in tracking the accused. People should keep all details related to the fraud handy while using the helpline as it helps in speedy action for the team that gathers the fraud information to stop the money transfer,” he said.
Cyber expert Ritesh Bhatia said cyber crimes will continue rising and one would keep hearing about newer kinds of cyber crimes as criminals are actively using artificial intelligence and newer tactics to scam people. “Financial scams and sextortion will keep getting advanced and we will witness newer modus operandi of such crimes,” said Bhatia.
He said government agencies need to be aware of these newer kinds of crimes, especially ones that will use artificial intelligence like deep fakes, deep nudes, voice deep fakes among others. “It’s time we stopped focusing on awareness and instead used artificial intelligence to prevent crimes at the very first stage. Do not expect citizens to keep learning every day, it’s the job and duty of intermediaries – social media platforms, search engines, banks and others to offer security to users,” he said.