The cyber crime rate in the city went up by 61.1 per cent in 2019 as compared to the previous year, Cyber Crime Police Station records show.
By Manasvi Gupta
Almost 172 social media fraud and bullying cases were reported in the first six months of 2019, as compared to 133 in the entire 2018. With the growing population of internet users in the city, the crimes associated with the internet also soared high, but at a much higher rate.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data revealed that a total of 6028 cyber crime offences were reported from January 2019 till June end, while 2018 witnessed 2342 cases in the same time frame. Of the 2019 cases, almost 200 were solved and in 147 criminal cases, arrests were made, show Cyber Crime Police Station reports.
Cyber crime investigation inspector, Mr. K.N. Yeshwantha Kumar said, “An average of 50-60 cases is reported every day in the station. Social media is a strong platform but is now increasingly used by fraudsters and trollers inappropriately due to unawareness and negligence”.
— Cybercrime CID (@CybercrimeCID) June 22, 2019
A defamation case was recently reported by a local resident, Koushik, who mentioned that he was severely trolled on social media for a video he uploaded. He stated, “The incident disturbed me a lot. This continued for one week before I finally decided to lodge a complaint.” Regarding these kinds of defamation cases, a Supreme Court lawyer, Mr. Kapil Dixit said, “A new law has been passed to shift these cases to the local police, instead of the cyber police”.
Relating the increasing number of internet users and cyber crimes, Mr. Dixit said, “The freshers who come looking for jobs in the city fall prey to such bullying and frauds, mainly due to their negligent attitude. The shocking fact is that I handle around 5-6 cyber crime cases almost every day”. Also, while explaining the punishments he said, “An imprisonment of 3-7 years, depending on the severity of the case is observed, with amount of fines imposed on the higher side”.
The citizens themselves need to first check the authenticity of the person by verifying the documents, as another incident of fraud using a social media platform was reported by Ali N., a local resident, who said, “I became a victim of online fraud while buying a second hand bike. The seller presented himself as a CRPF soldier and set up false accounts and IDs. He took money from me stating different reasons but in the end disappeared without giving the bike. So I lodged an FIR immediately.”
Mr. Dixit also clarified that almost every case is bail able and a second time the same person commits offence, more harsh punishments are imposed and comes under the IT Act of 2000.” The Act penalizes various forms of cyber crime, and if any person, dishonestly or fraudulently, does any act referred to in Section 43, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees, or with both.
“A reason for the observed trend can be attributed to the shortage of staff at cyber crime police stations than required,” Mr. Kumar said. Currently 35 special police stations are set up across the state. Also, youngsters, who contribute the most to online population, exhibit negligent behavior towards these issues, thus giving more fuel to increasing menace. Awareness needs to be spread regarding all kinds of cyber crimes, according to Mr. Dixit.
“The department has started various campaigns, on both physical and online platforms, to spread awareness regarding the same. Various pages are launched on different social media platforms and the authorities are planning to open more police stations, especially in the outskirts to deal with the increasing menace,” said Mr. Kumar on coping with the increasing crimes in the city.