Cyber crime on rise in Chandigarh, police register 17 FIRs in two months

Saurabh Prashar
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The Chandigarh cyber cell has 68 police personnel but only two Inspectors, who are competent to probe the cases.

A SECTOR 22 resident, 28-year-old Jeevan Jot, had uploaded her resume on expecting a call from some reputed company. In December 2019, she received a mail reportedly from a Canada-based company promising her a job. When she followed their procedure, she got another mail asking her to deposit Rs 35,000 in Indian currency in a bank account as a routine fee. The woman faithfully carried out the instructions. Subsequently, however, their mail ID became inactive. The cyber cell concludes that she was cheated and an FIR was lodged on Thursday.

A Sector 14 resident woman, who had uploaded her CV along with her picture on a matrimonial site, received a response from an Australia- settled NRI, who was willing to marry her. The woman happily accepted the proposal but the NRI claimed to be stuck at the IGI Airport and demanded financial help from her. The woman helped him out, only to realise that she was cheated.

These are among the cases which the cyber cell is handling. According to official figures, 17 FIRs related to different cyber crimes were registered out of around 910 complaints received in the last two months with the cyber cell. Although the registered FIRs related to withdrawing money after obtaining confidential information about ATM cards and online wallet, overall complaints related to different nature of crime including sexual harassment, threatening, stalking, theft of online data and monetary frauds.

Cyber cell Inspector Devinder Singh said, "Besides the job placement and matrimonial websites, there are several online shopping portals, including OLX, which are prone to cyber crimes. People who trust calls, emails referring to these sites, fell prey to fraudsters. In one of the complaints related to the sale of a two-wheeler on OLX, we concluded that a scooter had been sold to at least 19 people and advance money was accepted through online banking. The list of such complaints is unending. People search websites through search engines without ascertaining the original login and web addresses of the websites."

In 2019, 30 FIRs were registered as compared to 24 FIRs in 2018.

DSP (cyber) Rashmi Yadav Sharma said, "Complaints related to cyber crimes need a thorough probe. Complaints in all 17 FIRs registered in the last two months were received in 2019. The offence cannot be established all of a sudden. It is a complicated process. In complaints, especially related to sexual harassment through mobile devices, when victims came to know that they were being harassed by persons known to them, they usually retracted. As for financial frauds, complainants drop their complaints once they receive a small portion of their cheated money back from the banks concerned."

A police officer said, "As the backlog of complaints is increasing, a policy is being formulated through which cops at the level of police stations too will investigate cyber complaints. At present, only cyber cell is the exclusive wing for cyber crime complaints. Moreover, only one Inspector rank officer can investigate the cyber complaints. A proposal is pending with MHA for allowing the Sub-Inspector rank officer to probe a cyber complaint."

The Chandigarh cyber cell has 68 police personnel but only two Inspectors, who are competent to probe the cases. The remaining cops work as supporting staff.