HARYANA: As the digital landscape continues to expand, online frauds have become a mounting concern in Haryana, with people losing a staggering sum of around Rs 1 crore every day. Alarming as this figure may be, the state’s cyber police chief, OP Singh, revealed that only a fraction of this amount, roughly Rs 10 lakh, is recovered or blocked daily.
The sluggish response and action in handling cybercrimes have prompted the top cop to address the issue with banks and telecom companies, urging them to take immediate steps to improve this grim situation.
Low Recovery Rates Raise Concerns
In a letter addressed to various banks and telcos, Singh expressed deep concerns about the low rate of transactions that are blocked after online frauds are reported. He emphasized the urgent need to enhance the operational efficacy and responsiveness of nodal officers at these institutions.
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Singh’s plea for immediate attention to the issue came with a series of suggestions to strengthen the mechanism for dealing with cyber threats and crimes. These suggestions included incorporating advanced technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect frauds in real-time, providing training programs for nodal officers to enable swift action post-crime reporting, and establishing a 24×7 communication channel with the police’s cybercrime unit.
Nodal officers, who serve as intermediaries between banks and telecom companies and law enforcement, play a crucial role in identifying and reporting frauds to halt malicious transactions and illegal access. Singh’s message was clear: it’s time for institutions to step up their game.
Harnessing Technology to Fight Cybercrimes
Singh pointed out that developed countries like the United States and Singapore have made significant advancements in cybersecurity by leveraging AI and ML technologies. These tools have proven invaluable in preempting, identifying, and blocking fraudulent activities, ultimately mitigating the risk of financial loss to the citizens.
Companies have a vital role to play in implementing robust cybersecurity measures to thwart potential breaches and ensure the confidentiality of customer data. Singh also emphasized the need for training programs to equip nodal officers with the necessary skills to leverage these cutting-edge technologies effectively.
A Glimpse at the Statistics
According to data from Haryana Police until September this year, a staggering 86,460 complaints related to online frauds were reported. However, only 1,761, or about 2% of these complaints, resulted in cases being registered. Among these cases, 325 involved alleged frauds of Rs 5 lakh or more.
The data revealed that 519 cases were successfully resolved, 1,272 suspects were arrested, and Rs 45.7 crore was either recovered or put on hold in the first nine months of the year. In addition, more than 43,600 mobile numbers were blocked, and around a lakh bank accounts were frozen in an effort to combat cybercrime.
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A recent report by IIT Kanpur incubated NGO – Future Crime Research Foundation showcased Bharatpur district in Rajasthan emerges as India’s top cybercrime hotspot, making up a notable 18% of reported cases. Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, closely follows at 12%, while Nuh in Haryana accounts for 11%. Surprisingly, Jamtara, the setting of the Netflix show ‘Jamtara – Sabka Number Ayega,’ ranks fifth in this list
Rising to the Challenge
In light of the growing incidence of cybercrimes in the state, authorities have intensified their efforts. Notably, on April 27 this year, hundreds of police officers conducted raids at 300 locations in Nuh, detaining 125 suspects, 65 of whom were subsequently arrested. Investigators believe that this network of fraudsters operated from Nuh and adjoining districts of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, a region now known as the ‘new Jamtara,’ named after the Jharkhand town famous for cybercrimes.
To streamline investigations and bolster staffing for Haryana’s dedicated helpline (1930), police are in the process of establishing the State Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (S4C) in Gurgaon. This move is expected to aid in better coordination across districts and provide a more efficient platform for citizens to report cybercrime cases.
As Haryana grapples with the relentless wave of online frauds, it is imperative that banks, telecom companies, and law enforcement work together to combat this digital menace and protect the interests of the state’s residents. The adoption of advanced technologies, proactive measures, and improved communication channels will be pivotal in achieving this mission.
- Online Fraud Epidemic: People in Haryana are losing approximately Rs 1 crore daily to online frauds, highlighting a significant cybercrime issue.
- Inadequate Recovery: Only Rs 10 lakh of the daily losses are recovered or blocked, indicating a major gap in responding to cybercrimes effectively.
- Improving Communication: A 24×7 communication channel with the police’s cybercrime unit and prompt identification and reporting of frauds were emphasized for swift action.
- Global Cybersecurity Models: Countries like the US and Singapore effectively use AI and ML to preempt, identify, and block frauds, mitigating financial loss risks.
- Need for Comprehensive Measures: Importance of implementing cybersecurity measures in companies to ensure data confidentiality and avoid potential breaches.
- Statistical Insights: Data showed a large number of complaints related to online frauds, but only a small percentage resulted in registered cases. Successful resolutions and arrests were highlighted.
- Crackdown on Cybercrime: Recent large-scale crackdowns against cybercrime operations were mentioned, underscoring the need for concerted efforts to combat cyber threats.
- Future Initiatives: Plans for establishing the State Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (S4C) and scaling up the dedicated helpline to streamline reporting of cybercrimes were emphasized as crucial steps for the future.
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