Cybercrime surge in India: Over 7,000 daily complaints in 2024, key locations identified in Southeast Asia

Cybercrime surge in India: Over 7,000 daily complaints in 2024, key locations identified in Southeast Asia

India is grappling with a significant rise in cybercrime, receiving an average of more than 7,000 complaints daily up to May this year. Rajesh Kumar, CEO of the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C), revealed that many cyber fraudsters targeting India are believed to operate from key locations in Southeast Asia, including Pursat, Koh Kong, Sihanoukville, Kandal, Bavet, and Poipet in Cambodia; Thailand; and Myawaddy and Shwe Kokko in Myanmar.

The upward trend in cybercrime is stark, with complaints increasing by 113.7% from 2021 to 2022 and 60.9% from 2022 to 2023. Over the years, the number of complaints has surged dramatically: 26,049 in 2019; 255,777 in 2020; 452,414 in 2021; 956,790 in 2022; and 1,556,215 in 2023. So far in 2024, 740,957 complaints have already been filed.

This year, the majority of cyber fraud incidents involve fake trading apps, loan apps, gaming apps, dating apps, and algorithm manipulation. From January to April, the I4C received 4,599 complaints about digital fraud amounting to Rs 1,203.06 crore. Additionally, there were 20,043 trading scams totaling Rs 14,204.83 crore, 62,687 investment scams totaling Rs 2,225.82 crore, and 1,725 dating scams worth Rs 132.31 crore. In response, law enforcement agencies have filed 10,000 First Information Reports (FIRs).

To combat these fraudsters, the I4C and various law enforcement agencies have frozen nearly 325,000 mule bank accounts in the past four months. Additionally, 530,000 SIM cards and 3,401 social media accounts, including WhatsApp groups, have been blocked.

This surge in cybercrime highlights an alarming trend and underscores the increasing challenges related to cybersecurity in the country. It also emphasizes the necessity for enhanced cyber defense mechanisms, public awareness, and robust legal frameworks to tackle the growing issue of cybercrime.

Fraudsters contact victims via normal calls from Indian numbers using call spoofing techniques. They also pose as officers from the Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, Directorate of Enforcement, Reserve Bank of India, and other state and Union Territory law enforcement agencies.

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