According to data obtained through RTI in addition to Mumbai police records, there were a total of 19,175 monetary cyber fraud incidents reported in the city between 2013 to June 30, 2023, involving 3,144 at a total of five cyber police departments.
Data collected by the Mumbai police within the Right to Information (RTI) Act reveals that from 2013 to June 30, 2023, Mumbaikars suffered a shocking Rs 615 crore because of cyber frauds and scams. A significant portion of Rs 264 crore occurred from this in the global epidemic period of the years 2019 and 2021.
Cyber experts described the more than 19,000 FIRs as only the starting point of the ocean because many crimes go unreported and because authorities frequently ignore those involving minor amounts.
Only 10% of the cases got resolved
However, just 1,740 out of 19,175 cases have been resolved, resulting in a low 9.1% discovery rate. Additionally, the recovery percentage is poor as well.
Cybersecurity expert Ritesh Bhatia stated that “a low recovery rate could be due to the complexity of tracing funds in the digital world, lack of support from intermediaries such as banks and payment gateways, the international nature of cybercrime, and difficulties in identifying perpetrators.”
It fluctuated between 1 lakh and 20 lakh rupees per year between the years 2013 and 2020. A total of Rs. 89 lahks has been recovered as of June 30. Cyber Frauds increased sharply as a result of the pandemic’s impact on access to the internet, according to experts. Out of the 264 crore rupees, just 41.8 lakh rupees have been reclaimed.
According to the statement, “On August 8, the police had successfully recovered a total of Rs 12.7 crore out of the total Rs 615 crore lost over ten years. On the contrary, the data revealed that since 2021, the recovered amount has risen significantly to more than Rs 5 crore thus far”.
“The Maharashtra state cybersecurity cell received roughly 58,000 reports of internet banking crimes in 2021. 14,000 of these reported incidents came from Mumbai alone”, an official reported.
“This is the same situation every year. The sum at stake is several crores. However, just 600 to 800 incidents have given rise to FIRs. Several applications have been converted into non-cognizable offences, and aren’t looked into until a court order requires it and do not appear in criminal data”, according to an expert.
Pandemic received the worst cases of Cyber fraud
According to experts, “phishing assaults, sextortion, and frauds involving jobs, gifts, KYC, loans, and cryptocurrency skyrocketed throughout the pandemic.”
According to one, “Covid spelt disaster for the gullible and the careless who browsed the internet and followed cyber fraudsters’ instructions.”
Former IPS officer, lawyer YP Singh asserted that “If criminals are there in India, police are at best qualified to apprehend them. The intermediaries themselves need to be held responsible. Police place little attention on cybercrime and lack the resources and knowledge to begin the laborious recovery procedure. Fraudsters frequently take advantage of weak cyber security, a lack of public knowledge, and the adoption of cutting-edge tactics, according to attorney Prashant Mali. This gap might be closed via cooperation between multiple agencies and ongoing education.
For instance an official stated these cases,
• “On September 15, 2020, a 37-year-old Santacruz makeup artist who met a fraud worker on a matrimonial website lost Rs. 6.45 lakh after mortgaging her gold jewels.
• A 29-year-old Powai resident found out he wasted Rs 11 lakh to a British “female friend” he contacted on social media dated February 6, 2021. Since he had lost his work at a five-star hotel during Covid, he had borrowed money from friends and family to assist her.
• A 37-year-old Borivli homemaker who had fallen for a scam giving her a job from home on August 30, 2021, lost Rs 2.3 lakh as a result. She received a message asking her to invest money to buy a product and raise the business’s rating in exchange for a sizable fee.”
According to experts, “cybercrime is quickly developing, thus staying informed about new strategies is essential”.