Cyber-crime cases jump by 67% amid Covid-19

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Cyber-crime cases jump by 67% amid Covid-19

Monday, 13 July 2020 | Parvesh Sharma | Gurugram

Cybercrime cases jumped by more than 67% per cent till June 2020, in the cyber city as compared to June 2019.

A total of 5,779 cases have been reported in the city in the first half of the current year. The figure was 3,466 in 2019 during the same time period, according to the Gurugram police data.

The common types of cybercrime were e-commerce scams, phishing, debit/credit cards, mobile wallets, pretending to be customer care representatives and many others.

Cyber experts suggest that the reason behind the drastic increase in number of cyber cases the pandemic of COVID-19 and the imposed lockdown, has led to more people to be confined at home with many more hours to spend online each day and increasingly relying on the Internet to access services, they normally obtain offline.

At the same time, the lockdown has also significantly increased concerns about vulnerable persons online. The elderly, who usually rely on offline shopping and have now to purchase what they need from the internet, equally find themselves more exposed to cybercrime.

“The dangers of cyber-crime have been there for many years, but the increase in the percentage of the population connected to the Internet and the time spent online, combined with the sense of confinement and the anxiety and fear generated from the lockdown, have provided more opportunities for cybercriminals to take advantage of the situation and make more money or create disruption,” said the cyber experts.

Online fraud cases are on the rise; the fraudsters manage to obtain confidential details such as date of birth, CVV/PIN numbers, credit/debit card numbers, expiry date and even OTP from gullible customers under the pretext of calling them from the bank’s customer care office.

According to police, after getting the details, the scammers make payments to mobile phone and online payment service providers, which are quite difficult to trace or retrieve. The cyber criminals mainly, targeting senior citizens, children and women.

Cyber cell cops also blame easy access to information and technological advancement for the spikes in cyber crime cases. Net banking has made it easy for criminals to siphon off money from accounts and such fraud takes time to solve, said an official with the cyber cell.

“On an average, we receive 5 to 10 complaints a day. Fraudsters operate from far off places such as Mewat in Haryana, Bharatpur in Rajasthan and Mathura in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. They also change the phone numbers which are obtained using fictitious names. Also, network signals frequently jump from one mobile tower of one state to another providing an appropriate shield for the fraudsters. Moreover, the victims file complaints very late, which makes it tough to nab the accused,” said a senior police official of the city police.

He further said, “We are taking immediate action on the complaints of online banking fraud. If any complaint is brought to us within 24 hours, we can recover the money with the help of the banking staff. Only a few percent of victims report within 24 hours,” he said.

“The only way to avoid such fraud among the people is awareness. They should not reveal their bank details to anyone because no banks asked any account holder details on the phone. The only trusted website should be used in the online transaction,” he said , adding that we have also instructed the bank officials of the several banks they must take quick actions on the victim complaints and strict action will be initiated against them if any lapses are found on their behalf,” he said.

“Although the risk of being attacked will remain, some mitigation measures may help users and employers. For the users, it is recommended to be very vigilant about phishing emails and websites, practice good cyber hygiene, use only trusted Wi-Fi networks and consider adopting a password manager to help to avoid using the same password for multiple websites.” he added.                                                         

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