Poor response from banks on cyber frauds during weekends

The Tamil Nadu police take up the issue with Ministry of Home Affairs, call for 24/7 bank cyber cell

September 07, 2022 03:42 am | Updated 03:42 am IST - CHENNAI

Representational image.

Representational image. | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Tamil Nadu police have written to the Union government on the “lackadaisical response” of banks to complaints of cyberfrauds made on holidays or after working hours.

The police have pointed out that there is almost no response from banks when fraudulent transactions are reported after working hours, at weekends and on closed holidays, and this is affecting investigation. The police have called for the establishment of a 24/7 cybercell by banks to assist investigators.

Confirming this to The Hindu on Tuesday, Amaraesh Pujari, Director-General of Police, Cyber Crime Wing, said the poor response had resulted in the number of cybercrimes going up on holidays since cybercriminals seemed to have sensed that they could commit an offence and get away with it.

He said the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had taken up the issue with the Reserve Bank of India and the other authorities and sought an immediate solution. “As part of an intensive campaign to prevent cybercrimes, we are creating awareness among the people of the Do’s and Don’ts. In the event of a fraud, we are encouraging them to file complaints as early as possible. While online complaint platforms are available, even a call to the ‘1930’ cyber control room is enough to set the due process of law in motion and freeze the transaction in case of an online fraud.”

Mr. Pujari said the police in the 46 cybercrime police stations across Tamil Nadu were sensitised to the latest challenges and advanced solutions.

“Besides launching an in-depth investigation into online frauds like KYC or ATM update scam, investigators have been told to immediately raise a request with banks to freeze a suspicious transaction and protect the money,” he said, adding that the Cyber Crime Wing was in the process of setting up six regional cyberlabs, including one each in Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai.

Mr. Pujari said that similar to the significance of the ‘golden hour’ in saving the lives of road accident victims, the first one hour after a cybercrime was crucial in freezing a transaction and protecting the money of a victims.

The DGP said cybercrime victims could file complaints either with the local police or on the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (https://www.cybercrime.gov.in). They could also call ‘1930’.

“We have trained personnel working at our control room to assist victims file complaints. There is a feedback mechanism to update the victims on the action taken. It is a wrong perception that money lost in cyberoffences can be recovered only when the accused is arrested... People should know that once steps are taken to freeze a fraudulent transaction, the money is protected,” he said.

Spurt in cases

The data from the National Crime Records Bureau indicate a steady increase in the number of cybercrimes reported in Tamil Nadu. If the number of cases was 385 in 2019, it went up to 782 and 1,076 in 2020 and 2021 respectively. The State reported 54 online banking fraud cases, 15 cases of cheating involving fake One Time Passwords and 16 ATM fraud cases.

Fraud with an intent to cheat, anger, personal revenge and causing disrepute are among the major motives for the offences.

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