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In just two months, Bengaluru loses Rs 240 crore to cybercrime | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

Image for representational purposes for cybercrimes. (File Photo)

BENGALURU: In just two months, Bengalureans lost a whopping Rs 240 crore to cybercrime with only over Rs 56 crore or 23.6% of the total amount being recovered. Generally, the detection rate of cybercrimes seems to be declining over the years.

In 2022, it stood at 22.8%, dropping to 8.1% in 2023 and plummeting further to a mere 1.36% in 2024 (from January to February). Within 60 days in 2024, 3,151 cybercrime cases were registered. Of these, 828 cases involved job fraud and only 11 have been detected. According to data, individuals have collectively lost over Rs 63.8 crore to job fraud scams alone.

“In each cybercrime, at least 200 mule bank accounts (used to transfer and receive money acquired illegally on behalf of others) are involved. Previously, victims were defrauded with smaller sums of money, with fewer accounts being involved. However, in the current trend, victims are provided with details of at least over 10 bank accounts.

Subsequently, funds are transferred in small increments between multiple accounts, with the previous ones being swiftly blocked. Given the trend, detection will soon become exceedingly challenging or even impossible,” said Shiva Prakash Devaraju, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Traffic (South), who was heading the Special Investigating Team involving Job Frauds.

‘Cybercrime victims should report cases within an hour’

“When it comes to cybercrimes, the trend keeps changing, and the nature and complexity of crimes keep evolving. Just as we attempt to find a breakthrough in a case, the trend changes and new features are added,” DCP Devaraju added. In all the cases busted so far, masterminds orchestrating the crimes consistently evade arrest because of various factors, like multiple layers involved in the crimes and the complexity of tracing IP addresses, the senior officer said. Each fraudster operates in coordination with others, yet none of them are aware of each others’ identity, he added.

The mastermind conceals it through layers of smaller scams, ensuring that each participant receives a share of the profits. Additionally, those who provide details to create mule accounts also sometimes receive commissions, he added. Those based in Karnataka may trace their activities to Dubai or other parts of the country to complicate the investigation. Even if this fact is suspected or known, confirmation remains difficult. Virtual private networks (VPNs) are used and emails are sent through Proton, an encrypted platform. The crime is scaled up so much that tracing it back to its origin is not just challenging but impossible, he explained.

Once the money is transferred into a mule account, the fraudsters swiftly move the funds across multiple bank accounts and eventually close all the accounts. By the time authorities begin tracing, the accounts are either blocked or linked to individuals unaware of the account’s existence, he said. Kuldeep Kumar Jain, Deputy Commissioner of Police, East, who was heading the SIT involving the FedEx courier scam, said, “Cracking cybercrime requires continuous follow-ups with financial institutions. Procedures to extend loans and opening bank accounts should be rigorous. Also, victims should promptly report cases within an hour. Detecting cybercrime is not solely the responsibility of the police, but also that of the public and banks.”


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