Woman loses Rs 2.4 lakh while ordering sweets online
Representational image

Guwahati: The National Crime Records Bureau’s recent revelation that Assam has the second-highest rate of cybercrimes in the country in 2021, has once again highlighted how Assam residents are increasingly vulnerable to online fraud.

According to the NCRB report, India has witnessed nearly 6 per cent increase in cybercrime cases in 2021 (52974 cases) as compared to the previous year (50035 cases). According to the report, Assam ranks second in the cybercrime rate (13.8) in India in 2021.
The NCRB data shows that one of the common motives for such crimes is fraud, apart from sexual exploitation, and extortion. In Assam, out of the total 4846 cybercrime cases in 2021, 704 cases were related to fraud, the report stated.

Barsha Deka, who works with a private company in Guwahati, recently lost Rs 20,500 of her hard-earned money after she fell prey to online phishing. On August 25, Barsha received an email from her company’s CEO, asking her to make a payment to a vendor’s bank account.

Describing the incident to EastMojo, Barsha says, “I received an email from ma’am saying, “Barsha, I have some important work, please contact me. At first, I was a bit curious as she contacted me on my personal email, but since I was occupied with work, I didn’t think much and responded to it. And then she asked me to make a vendor payment, saying it’s urgent and the reimbursement will be made by the end of the day as per the office’s reimbursement procedure.”

“I thought since it was morning and the accounts team was yet to arrive in the office,, maybe she couldn’t connect with them. So I said that I’ll get it done and I got the bank details of the vendor from her. I transferred the money to the vendor’s bank account and sent an email that it was done. After some time, I got another email asking me again to make a payment of 35000. This time I felt suspicious because by then, everyone, including the accounts team, was in the office so why was she asking me to make the payment. I informed my colleague and he said this has happened previously then it struck me. I checked the email-id and found out that it was spam,” she added.

Barsha had filed an FIR at the Dispur Police Station, registered an online complaint on the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, and had immediately reported to both the banks regarding the issue. But she has little hope that she will be able to get the money back.

Speaking about the difficulties faced in such cases, in an interaction with EastMojo, AYV Krishna ADGP, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Assam said, “One of the major challenges in curbing such crimes is that the criminal can be anywhere; beyond the district, state or sometimes even from outside the country. If the accused is far away then it becomes a difficult task to get hold of him. Another challenge that we face is that most of these fraudsters mostly operate using Wi-Fi or VPN, and this makes it difficult to track their identity and location,” he added.

Apart from these challenges the officer also stressed on the lack of trained technical manpower and said that considering the urgency of the issue, the cybercrime department under Assam Police has started training programmes and workshops to deal with cases of cybercrime. The officer informed that a separate cybercrime police station will be set up in Guwahati and two such outposts will be set up in Dibrugarh and Silchar.

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