Aadhaar enabled payment comprised 11% of financial frauds: I4C analysis

Last year, the central government’s portal (cybercrime.gov.in) and 1930 helpline received 13,10,329 complaints regarding cyber enabled financial frauds

January 05, 2024 02:37 am | Updated 07:25 am IST - NEW DELHI

Aadhar Enabled Payment System (AePS) frauds were 11% of the cyber financial scams that had its origin in India in 2023, an analysis by the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) has said. Most of these were committed in Bihar and Jharkhand.

Last year, the central government’s portal (cybercrime.gov.in) and 1930 helpline received 13,10,329 complaints regarding cyber enabled financial frauds. The AePS frauds included cloning of biometrics.

AePS is a payment service that allows a bank customer to use Aadhaar as his/her identity to access his/ her Aadhaar-enabled bank account and perform basic banking transactions such as balance inquiries, cash deposits, cash withdrawals, and remittances through a Business Correspondent/Agent.

Cloning biometrics

The Hindu reported on October 31 last year how Karnataka Police arrested two men from Bihar for withdrawing money from Aadhaar linked bank accounts of customers. The accused would log on to the Karnataka government’s Kaveri portal and download sale deeds containing fingerprints of the owners and copy the thumb impressions into AePS enabled devices to withdraw money.

A complaint on the portal or helpline does not necessarily mean conversion into a First Information Report (FIR).

The helpline initiated by the I4C under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) facilitates real time registration of complaints. As banks and financial institutions are linked on the same platform, the chances of blocking money in a fraudster’s account, if a call is made within one or two hours of the crime being committed, are high, an official said.

An analysis of the national cybercrime reporting portal (NCRP) said that there were two kinds of cyber financial frauds- local and international.

Sextortion

Among the local origin frauds, 35% were related to customer care number/refund/KYC expiry where the fraudster gained remote access to a person’s phone siphoning off money from their bank accounts. Around 24% complaints pertained to Sextortion where a person is told to pay up after being recorded watching pornography on answering a video call from an unknown number; 22% frauds were related to online booking, fake franchisee and QR code and 8% complaints were related to Android Mobile Malware, the NCRP analysis said.

Among international origin frauds, 38% were related to investment/task based scams/authorised push payments; 23% pertained to illegal loan Apps, 21% were illegal gaming/crypto scams, 11%- romance scams and 7% complaints related to ransomware and hackings.

In 2023, as many as 1,41,056 social media related cybercrimes were reported.

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