Cyber clubs formed in villages in central region to thwart online offences

 Amid growing instances of cyber crimes, police in the central zone have gone an awareness drive by creating cyber clubs at the village-level to drive home the modus operandi of offenders using the online mode to target and cheat gullible people and the ways to thwart such crimes by remaining vigilant.

Around 7,000 cyber clubs have so far been constituted at mother villages all over the central zone consisting of Tiruchi, Pudukottai, Karur, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Mayiladuthurai districts.

Each cyber club, which functions on virtual platform, comprises about five to 10 members that includes computer literate youth and a jurisdictional policeman. The clubs are connected with the cyber crime unit of the respective district police. Telegram groups have been created at the village level to share awareness videos on cyber crimes and the frequent alerts received from the Cyber Crime Wing of the Tamil Nadu Police. The cyber clubs at the village-level have been constituted over a period of time with periodical interactions being done with the members by a senior police officer in the rank of an Additional Superintendent of Police in the districts, said Inspector General of Police, Central Zone, V. Balakrishnan. 

The need for cyber clubs was felt in the wake of several types of cyber crimes getting reported with the offenders operating from distant locations using the online platform to target gullible people to siphon off their money and sensitise people to the modus operandi adopted by the criminals, Mr. Balakrishnan said. Many instances of pensioners getting tricked by the cyber criminals to siphon off their money from their account had been reported. 

Police sources say cyber criminals resort to different methods to cheat people that includes One Time Password (OTP) fraud wherein the offenders try to obtain the OTP from the victim impersonating as a bank staff for authenticating a transaction on behalf of the victim and take away the money from their account. Other dubious methods include Phishing, Vishing and online job racketeering have also been the modus operandi of cyber criminals, the sources said. 

In addition to forming cyber clubs at the village-level, law enforcers have also created such clubs in several schools and colleges in the central zone to create awareness in the young minds. The clubs have been formed with the objective that prevention of such crimes was the best option by sensitising the people, Mr. Balakrishnan said.

The sources said in one such instance of online job offer fraud reported in Tiruchi district, the complainant was lured by the accused who gave a false promise of offering a job in a fraudulent company. The complainant had paid money to the tune of ₹29.54 lakh in various instalments via G-Pay and bank only to get cheated by the accused.

However, the police were able to crack the case by tracing the origin of the IP address and fixing the accused who hailed from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The accused was found to be involved in many such online frauds. A police team went to Andhra Pradesh and arrested him.

In another instance reported in Perambalur district pertaining to SMS fraud, a 44-year-old woman of Veppanthattai received an SMS in her mobile phone luring her of an offer of ₹5 lakh loan with 1 % interest rate and was cheated. The accused in this case was traced to Delhi and arrested through verification of call detail records and tower location, the sources further said. 

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Printable version | Jun 29, 2022 6:19:49 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/cyber-clubs-formed-in-villages-in-central-region-to-thwart-online-offences/article65423419.ece