In 2020, cases of obscene messages and morphed images sent through email, messaging apps and social media increased. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
In 2020, cases of obscene messages and morphed images sent through email, messaging apps and social media increased. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Beware, Mumbai recorded more cybercrimes in 2020: Data

There were more incidents of cyber crimes in the city in 2020, with spikes in new kinds of online crimes like fraudulent job listings
By Vijay Kumar Yadav, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 11:30 PM IST

There were more incidents of cyber crimes in the city in 2020, with spikes in new kinds of online crimes like fraudulent job listings. Statistics released by Mumbai Police show 2,435 registered cases of cyber crime in Mumbai in 2020, which is higher than the 2,225 cases registered in 2019. Of these, 207 or 8.5% were detected in 2020.

In 2020, cases of obscene messages and morphed images sent through email, messaging apps and social media increased. Compared to 239 reported cases in 2019, there were 247 cases in 2020, of which 91 were detected. In 2019, 104 of the 239 cases were detected. A marginal increase was also recorded in cases of man-in-middle (MIM) attacks, email spoofing, phishing and hacking. A sharp decline was seen in reported cases of fake online profiles — 30 in 2020 compared to 61 in 2019.

Spikes were noted in cases of sexortion (sexual exploitation by coercion), e-shopping fraud as well as fraudulent classifieds and job listings. Clubbed as “other” in police data, there were 1,545 such cases in 2020 and 78 were detected. In 2019, 1,087 cases were reported and 112 were detected.

According to Mumbai Police, 558 cases of fraud involving debit and credit cards as well as one-time passwords were registered in 2020, of which 21 cases were detected, while in 2019, 775 cases were recorded, but more cases (40) were detected.

Mumbai Police attributed the dip in detection rate to restrictions on movement during the lockdown. Regular police work could resume only in the last quarter of 2020.

“We have improved the detection rate at cyber police stations in the last three months and it’s almost 100%. Our aim is to save people’s money, hence we put every possible effort when cyber crime victims approach us. We urge people to report cyber crime within two hours of occurrence so that their money can be saved. Last year we managed to save nearly 15 crore for cyber crime victims,” said Rashmi Karandikar, deputy commissioner of police (cyber). She further added that Mumbai Police had recently busted gangs that were operating across states and carrying out online frauds.

Requesting anonymity, one police officer from the cyber crime wing of Mumbai Police said acquiring case-related information from telecom companies and internet service providers is challenging. They also said that creating fake profiles is easy since email service providers do not ask for details that would be used to verify someone’s identity. Another reason for the low detection rate is that most email servers are located outside India, said an officer. Detection rates may also be low because many cyber criminals hide their locations using virtual private network (VPN) providers.

Cyber security advocate Vicky Shah said, “If the RBI want to curb cyber crime, the present settlement cycle must be delayed at least by 24 hours. Also, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India should make the process of issuance of mobile SIM cards more rigorous as mobile numbers are linked to bank accounts.”

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