Statistics reveal that the number of cyber crimes has been on a steady rise in the city over the past ten years. Deputy commissioner of police Dr Sanjay Shinde, however, contends that the trend is due to growing awareness amongst citizens, as a result of persistent campaigns and initiatives by the Pune police, which pushes them to step forward and report such incidents. There’s plenty of room for improvement.
Shinde yesterday stated that of the 600 cyber crime complaints received in the year, only 200 complainants went ahead and registered FIRs. The top cop attributed this skewed ratio to the fear of defamation, as the accused involved in such crimes are usually relatives or very close associates of the victims.
“We have conducted various workshops and training sessions at different schools, colleges, financial institutions, malls, societies and other establishments. This has resulted in more number of citizens coming forward to file their complaints with the cyber crime cell,” Shinde said.
For instance, a total of 4 cases of cheating on the pretext of installing mobile towers have been registered with the city’s cyber crime cell this year so far. Cops have appealed to citizens to avoid falling prey to such gangs.
Also, Warje police on Monday registered a case against 7 persons on charges of duping 73-year-old Anant Moreshwar Tambe, from Sahayog Nagar, to the tune of Rs 4 lakh. The FIR has been lodged under sections of Information Technology Act and Indian Penal Code against Sandeepkumar Verma, Ravi Sengar, Rahul Kumar, Sumit Singh, Nikhil Bhardwaj, Amit Singh and another accused named Shweta.
According to the compliant, the miscreants had issued an advertisement in a local newspaper about installing 3G and 4G mobile towers, and promising good returns in exchange. They asked the complainant to deposit money in their account periodically. After Tambe realised that he was being duped, he approached the police.
DCP Shinde said, “Along with mobile tower installation advertisements, conmen have now started sending SMSes on people’s mobile phones, claiming that if citizens purchase an insurance policy, 90 per cent of that amount would be sanctioned as loan. The modus operandi is akin to the mobile tower case, in which victims are asked to deposit money in instalments.”
“Since privacy laws prohibit any person from intercepting or reading SMSes and emails being sent to citizens, we have our hands tied in preventing such cheating cases. But we have asked telecom operators to block such bulk-SMS service providers that are used by cyber crooks to send such messages. We are also seeking strict action from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India against the service providers in these cases,” he added.
“Taking cognisance of our efforts, even the Data Security Council of India has short-listed our cyber cell among the top three finalists at the recent security summit held in Delhi. Only Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Ahmedabad unit of Gujarat police are ahead of us at the national level, ” he pointed out.
“We have also prepared the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for investigating different types of cyber crimes. About 4,137 police officers and other personnel have been trained till date to handle and investigate such cases. Besides this, we have set up a forensic lab, and are also regularly conducting checks of Wi-Fi security and monitoring cyber cafes to prevent untoward incidents,” the DCP added.
Cyber crime investigator Sagar Rahurkar, who has previously worked with Pune police in several sensitive cases, said, “Once the complainant realises that the offence has been done by a known person, usually a relative or a friend, they back out and avoid registering an FIR. This is done in order to prevent ruining the suspect’s career or social image.”
WhatsApp — new medium of crime
“The number of complaints about harassment through emails and SMSes is on the rise. This year we have also received two complaints pertaining to sensitive messages being uploaded and forwarded through WhatsApp. We can’t disclose information regarding this, as its related to the law and order situation of the city,” DCP Shinde said.
No of cyber crime complaints received in the city this year
Approx no of cases in which complainants chose to file FIRs
No of police and security personnel in the city who have so far received training to handle cyber crime cases