Sextortion complaints on a high, but fewer FIRs registered

Updated on Oct 06, 2022 04:11 AM IST

According to the police data, of the 409 complaints last year, FIRs were registered in only 24 cases, and this year only 44 FIRs have been registered of the 1,469 complaints received.

The police uses the term “sextortion” to describe crimes that involve extorting money or sexual favours by offenders who are privy to the personal details, photos or videos of the victim. (HT Photo)
The police uses the term “sextortion” to describe crimes that involve extorting money or sexual favours by offenders who are privy to the personal details, photos or videos of the victim. (HT Photo)

The Delhi Police received 409 complaints of “sextortion” in 2021, and 1,469 till August 31 this year, but only a few of them were turned into proper first information reports (FIRs), shows official data.

According to the police data, of the 409 complaints last year, FIRs were registered in only 24 cases, and this year only 44 FIRs have been registered of the 1,469 complaints received.

The police uses the term “sextortion” to describe crimes that involve extorting money or sexual favours by offenders who are privy to the personal details, photos or videos of the victim. FIRs mostly booked under section 420 of the IPC to be read with other relevant sections or related sections of Information Technology Act which has the maximum punishment for 7 years and 5 years respectively.

A break-up of district-wise data shows the maximum complaints were received from south-west district in both 2021 (253), and this year till August 31 (467).

Also read: Delhi set to withdraw 500 fine for not wearing masks as Covid cases dip: Report

Senior police officers, who have investigated such cases, said one of the major reasons of a large number of such complaints is the convenience with which citizens can report these crimes online on the national cyber crime portal. The portal was launched by the ministry of home affairs in January 2020. The complaints registered on the portal are forwarded to the agency or police force concerned.

“The awareness about the online reporting of cyber crimes is very high, and maybe it is one of the reasons that the number of complaints is high. But his hold true of all other categories of crimes where a citizen can access the Delhi Police website and lodge and e-FIR from wherever she is. In sextortion cases, it is particularly important since the victims often feel shy of approaching the police directly due to stigma attached to such crimes,” said a senior police officer asking not to be named.

When asked about the dismal percentage of complaints being turned into FIRs, a deputy commissioner rank officer said that there are a number of “practical problems” that the police face while tackling cyber crime. “Firstly, there is a dearth of staff to tackle these cases, as well as logistical hurdles such as getting approvals from different internet companies,” he said.

“Every cyber police station that was opened last year in every police district gets thousands of complaints every month which are all cognisable. But there are not enough officers to handle the load. An investigator in a cyber crime case has to be either a sub-inspector or an inspector rank officer. But we try our best to take up the cases and detect them. What we are doing now is that we first examine the complaints, and look if the same modus operandi was used in some other cases as well. Such complaints are clubbed together and investigated as one case,” the officer said.

Citing a recent case from Dwarka, the officer said that a 71-year-old man became a victim of “sextortion” when a woman made a video of him while talking to her. The man then received a call telling him that the woman has died by suicide and he will be charged with abetment to suicide, if he didn’t pay money. A 20-year-old man from Rajasthan was arrested in the case who said he was a part of an online cheating gang, the officer added. He also said that fraudsters sometimes even pose as policemen to extort money from the people.

Also read: Stubble fires rising in Punjab, may impact Delhi after Oct 10

Deputy commissioner of police (public relations) Suman Nalwa said that such complaints are going up since cyber criminals come up a new modus operandi every day. “They are also aware that people are afraid of reporting these cases due social stigma. But Delhi Police is proactively tackling these cases and has been raising awareness about such fraud by running campaigns to tell people that they should stay alert in the cyber world and protect their data.”

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the Capital accounts for 28.6% of all crimes committed against people aged 60 and above among all 19 metros.

In 2021, the city logged 1,166 crimes against senior citizens, including 17 murders, as compared to 906 cases in 2020.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, December 04, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals