Over the past five years, cybercrime cases in Gujarat have risen by 235 percent, reveals data released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). This is at a time when the ‘Digital India’ push has led to a massive surge in online transactions.
Against one case of cybercrime every day in 2017, four cases were registered in 2021. While 458 cases were reported in 2017, 1,536 cases were filed in 2021—a 235 percent increase. In 2019, 784 offences of cybercrime were filed in the state, while in 2020, the pandemic year, the figure stood at 1,283.
Telangana has topped the list of states with the highest number of cybercrimes in 2021, according to the latest NCRB data. With 10,303 cybercrime cases registered in 2021, the state witnessed a surge of 100 percent compared to 2020.
During the Covid years, cybercrime cases almost doubled as many people suddenly began using apps during the lockdown, but most could not differentiate between genuine and fake apps. Confined to their homes, people depended heavily on e-wallets and digital payment apps for basic purchases.
Taking advantage of the tectonic shift in buying behaviour, cybercriminals created fake customer support numbers for banks and online shopping sites to defraud people. The detection rate in such crimes was less than 10 percent, a cybercrime sleuth said.
Police have been organising online campaigns to create awareness about digitisation and how to avoid getting conned. “Many ended up clicking on dubious links or scanning QR codes sent by scammers. A lot of people lost their money to such frauds,” said Mayur Bhusavalkar, a cyber expert from Vadodara.
Some common cybercrimes include tricking teenagers into installing malware-infected porn apps that lock their phones and seeking money to unlock them. Some fraudsters also trick people into sharing their online passwords under the pretext of completing their KYC process while others resort to phishing by creating fake websites to steal information.