While there was a 417% jump in the number of cyber fraud complaints filed in Gujarat during the Covid-19 pandemic, only 10 per cent of the Rs 61.64 crore lost by Gujaratis in these frauds were recovered in the past 10 months, states the latest report from the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC).
“In the time of pandemic, the masses at large prefer to use digital mode of banking, as the use of cash is fraught with the spread of coronavirus. However, besides the surge in digital transactions, a simultaneous spike was observed in number of cyber fraud cases in recent times, as per data provided by cyber crime cell, Ahmedabad,” stated the SLBC report which was released after a formal meeting of bankers on Monday evening.
Pointing to the trend, it stated, “There is an alarming growth of 417 per cent in cyber fraud complaints.” The number of complaints which stood at 453 in January 2020, shot up to 2,346 by the end of October 2020.
Between January and October 2020, a total of 16,503 complaints involving Rs 61.64 crore were registered in Gujarat. Of this, only Rs 6.03 crore have been recovered so far. During this 10-month period, the highest number of complaints — 2,614 —was lodged in September 2020, involving over Rs 11.07 crore.
“Technology works as boon and also as a bane, goes the saying and the same had been proved aptly relevant in case of adoption of new age technologies in banking, which besides facilitating convenience to large section of customers, has also left a few in the lurch, who easily fall prey to cyber frauds mainly due to lack of their awareness about safeguard to be adhered for using online banking tools.
The modus operandi of cyber frauds in Gujarat revealed that the maximum complaints were related to customer care frauds (2,387) and PayTM KYC (2,073). There were similar complaints related to OLX (1,875) and cashback (1,403). Apart from these, fake identity frauds (1,169), job fraud (1,056) and credit card related frauds (1,013) were the major chunk of complaints.
The report also stated that the Gujarat government had launched project AASHVAT (Assured Assistance Service Helpline for Victims At Shortest Time) through which investigations of all types of cyber crime is being conducted by a team of experts.
MM Bansal, convenor of the SLBC meeting and General Manager of Bank of Baroda, said, “We had invited DCP Cyber Crime, Amit Vasava, to brief us on cyber frauds at the meeting which was held virtually. He had apprised us of the existing situation in the state.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber crime cell), Amit Vasava said he cannot confirm or comment on data provided by a different agency. “Very soon we will finish a year for AASHVAT, and we will be releasing detailed analysis of our work,” he added.
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