HYDERABAD: It was around 3.30 pm on Friday, when a red text on a monitor of the Telangana State Cyber Security Bureau showed — Cases: 170; Loss reported: Rs 2.4 crore. The data, which pops up at the top of the Cyber Crime Portal, is the financial loss reported by victims of cybercrime in a single day across Telangana, said an operator of the TSCSB.
“While this is a lot of money, there have been instances where a single person loses over Rs 90 lakh,” said another operator. “In fact, eight people from across Hyderabad have lost more than Rs 90 lakh in cybercrime cases starting January 1,” he said, pointing at a huge monitor.
Located on the third floor of the ICCC building, the TSCSB has a dedicated team of cybercrime warriors that deal with the preliminary aspects of cyber crime investigation. Initially, there are specialised operators who man the 1930 helpline calls. So when a victim of cybercrime dials the toll free number to report financial fraud, they speak to these operators, who take down details of the case and raise a complaint on the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal.
“On any given day, the team receives nearly 2,000 calls from across Telangana. These days, the most common modus operandi is part-time job fraud and investment fraud,” said sub-inspector Sirisha.
In most cases, people lose money through multiple transactions. The operators get details of these transactions over WhatsApp, which they then upload on the portal. Once the details of the transactions are updated, the next team of the TSCSB takes charge. They alert the nodal managers of the respective banks from where the victim has made the transaction.
The banks then act on the information and freeze the money, in cases where it is possible. If a victim reports a crime weeks after the loss, fraudsters by then syphon off the money, another officer explained. “We can, however, still work on tracing the fraudster,” she explained.
Almost all the operators had one message to the people: “If you realise you’ve fallen prey to cybercrime and lost money because of that, dial 1930 immediately. Do it within the golden hour.”
The earlier you report the crime, the quicker the banks can freeze the amount and the higher the chances of recovery are. After a cyber fraudster receives money from the victim, they immediately start transferring the amount to several other accounts, in an attempt to delay investigation.
“Even if it is Rs 12,000, the conman receives it in one account then transfers it to a second account, from there they transfer it to a third account and then the fourth,” one of the investigators explained.
With the help of the banks, the officers keep a close track on the transactions, then trace and identify the fraudsters.The 1930 helpline is available 24×7 and the committed team works through three shifts of eight hours to handle the calls of cybercrime victims.
Eight people lose Rs 90 lakh in a month
– 8 people from across the city lost more than `90 lakh in cybercrime cases starting January 1
– The earlier the crime is reported, the quicker the banks can freeze the amount
– The team approaches bank managers who immediately freeze money