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Cyberabad residents lost over ₹232 crore to cyber-criminals in 2023 | #cybercrime | #infosec | #hacking | #aihp

The Cyberabad Police Commissionerate recorded a quantum jump in money lost in cybercrime cases registered in 2023, the police said, while pegging the total reported loss at ₹232.34 crore.

Addressing reporters at the annual news conference on Saturday, 23 December, the police said the ongoing saw a year-on-year increase of 248.52 percent in money lost to cyber fraudsters.

While ₹66,66,55,124 crore was lost to cybercrimes in 2022, the current year reported a loss of a staggering ₹2,32,34,84,557.

The police registered 5,342 cases in the current calendar year, more than 492 cases from 4,850 registered in 2022.

The recovery rate, too, was higher in 2023. The police recovered more than ₹46 crore in 2023, up from the ₹7.57 crore found in the previous year.

In comparison, Hyderabad reported a loss of ₹140.02 crore to cybercrimes this year, according to the annual report released by the Hyderabad City police on 22 December.

The nature of cybercrimes reported in Cyberabad included vishing, phishing, and several others such as gifts, jobs, loans, lotteries, advertising portals, card skimming, PAYTM KYC updates, dating sites, matrimonial sites, fake Google customer care, and online friendship.

Also Read: Telangana sees 57 percent increase in cybercrime rate

Uptick in cybercrime cases

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Cybercrimes) Ramachandra Reddy said fraudsters employed two patterns to con people.

“The first is the investment fraud in which the accused initially asked the victim to deposit ₹10,000 to ₹15,000 in their bank accounts. The victim would do that for a part-time job or any other investment. The victim would also receive money for the first few days,” the officer told South First.

“The fraudsters would then ask the victims not to withdraw money. However, if the victim still withdrew, which they usually did, the fraudsters would block their contact and vanish. Messages luring people with offers of part-time jobs mostly came over WhatsApp.  The victims were then added to a group on Telegram,” the officer explained the modus operandi.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner Avinash Mohanty (third from left) and other officers releasing the Annual Report 2023 on 23 December. (Supplied)

Regarding the second type of cybercrime, Reddy said the fraudsters impersonated themselves as police personnel claiming that a courier/parcel addressed to the potential victim contained narcotics.

“The fraudsters would pose themselves as officers of the narcotics department. They would then blackmail the victim and ask for money to settle the issue and avoid the registration of the FIR. Usually, the scared victims would transfer the money,” Reddy said.

According to reports, FedEx courier scamsters capitalised on people’s fear of getting involved in narcotics case by impersonating the employees of the established courier brand to deceive individuals.

The victim would receive calls from someone identifying themselves as a FedEx employee. The scamsters would later make follow-up calls, and forge documents to get the victim’s personal information, and threaten them into parting with their money.

Reddy said anyone falling prey to the nefarious schemes of fraudsters should immediately contact the police over the phone number, 1930.

“If it’s done immediately, the police can try to recover the money. But it becomes tougher if we are alerted late since the accused would convert it to cryptocurrency or transfer the money to another bank account. I urge the citizens to not to click on unknown links or disclose OTPs to unknown people,” the officer said.

Also Read: Police warn people against using free Wi-Fi

Other crimes

As many as 29,156 cases were registered in the Cyberabad Commissionerate in 2023, up 6.71 percent from the 27,322 cases registered in the preceding year.

The most number of cases pertained to cheating (6,777 cases) booked under the IPC Section 420. Theft cases (2,353) registered under Section 378 came next.

There was a 5.34 percent dip in cases of crimes against women: 2,356 cases, 133 less than 2,489 registered in 2022.

Crimes against Scheduled Castes/Tribes, too, came down to 133 cases from 158 registered in the past year.

The Cyberabad police also registered 277 narcotic cases in 2023 and arrested 567 people. The accused included two suppliers, 550 peddlers/middlemen and 15 customers.

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