The twentieth century has brought to reality the idea of a global village, where digital technology has interconnected and enmeshed the world economies, cultures, and populations. India is no exception, with over 400 million internet users as of 2018, making it the second-largest internet population in the world. While greater connectivity via the World Wide Web promises large-scale progress, it also leaves our digital societies open to new vulnerabilities. Cybercrimes know no borders and evolve at a pace at par with emerging technologies.
In 2018, India reported nearly twenty-eight thousand cases of cybercrime. In 2019, as per the survey, India lost 1.2 trillion rupees in cybercrimes. No area of India is untouched by this new crime. Statistics show that alone, Shimla reported nearly 1638 cases of cybercrimes in 2019. This rate has further increased in 2020. Till May End, the cyber police station has already reported a total of 1264 incidents of cybercrimes. As per ASP Shimla, the most surprising factor in these cases is that almost all accused are friend, relative, employee, or servant of the victim. Also, Out of vulnerable groups, senior citizens are the most vulnerable and not very familiar with e-banking processes.
Facts in Brief:
Some of the incidents where the victim was looted by his/her relative, employee, or servant:
- Recently, the cyber police station received a complaint from Sunita Bhardwaj (81), a resident of Shimla, alleging that Rs. 3,50,000 was withdrawn from her account through net banking by her servant. The servant, Deep Ram of Sunni in Shimla district, had spent most of the amount in online gaming. He was arrested on June 3.
- An expelled employee of JKR Motors Company, Kangra accessed and deleted the company’s data through the internet, causing considerable losses to the company.
- Also, the cyber police station received a complaint from Surat Ram, a resident of Rampur in Shimla, alleging that Rs. 3,50,000 had been withdrawn from his account by an unidentified person. Investigations revealed that his brother’s son had withdrawn the money. The accused used the complainant’s mobile phone to withdraw the money.
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Cyber Crimes in Indiaare mainly governed by two acts, namely the Information Technology Act, 2000, and Indian Penal Code, 2000. Particular provisions which may apply to cases mentioned above may include:
Provisions of Information Technology Act:
66C. Punishment for identity theft.–Whoever, fraudulently or dishonestly make use of the electronic signature, password, or any other unique identification feature of any other person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to rupees one lakh.
66D. Punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resource.–Whoever, by means of any communication device or computer resource cheats by personation, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees.
Hacking and Data Theft: Sections 43 and 66 of the IT Act penalize several activities ranging from hacking into a computer network, data theft, introducing and spreading viruses through computer networks, damaging computers or computer networks or computer programs, disrupting any computer or computer system or computer network, denying authorized personnel access to a computer or computer network, damaging or destroying information residing in a computer, etc. The maximum punishment for the above offenses is imprisonment of up to 3 (three) years or a fine of Rs. 5,00,000 (Rupees five lac) or both. Also Read- Beware of Fraud on Matrimonial Websites
Provision of Indian Penal Code:
- 425. Mischief – whoever with intent to cause, or knowing that he is likely to cause, wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person, causes the destruction of any property, or any such change in any property or the situation thereof as destroys or diminishes its value or utility, or affects it injuriously, commits mischief.”
Needless to say, damaging computer systems and even denying access to a computer system will fall within the previous section 425 of the IPC. The maximum punishment for mischief as per section 426 of the IPC is imprisonment of up to 3 (three) months or a fine or both.
Although cybercrime affects people of all ages and backgrounds, seniors and the elderly are frequently the most at risk for specific types of crimes because they make attractive targets to criminals. Unlike many millennials or even baby boomers, seniors often have “nest egg” funds for retirement. They are less likely to monitor their credit actively. They are typically very polite and are more trusting. They are also less likely to report fraud out of embarrassment, shame, or fear that their families may believe that they should no longer live alone. For fraudsters, older people are an easy target because of their lack of knowledge about changing technology.
Further, they are mentally and physically tired and seek support and kindness. So, when a fraudster appears to fill that need, the senior citizen responds by trusting him or her. Besides, the factor that they are part of a generation that is generally trusting and helpful fuels such crimes. That is the reason most accused of cybercrimes include friends, relatives, and servants.Very often, their trust in them proves costly.
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This problem is not particular to Shimla. It has been reported all over the country. For instance, in Pune, such case makeup to 10 percent of the total cyber crime fraud cases, says Pune, cybercrime cell senior inspector Sunil Pawar. In Bangalore, Calcutta, and elsewhere, around 20 percent of victims of such frauds are the elderly. Delhi has witnessed a spurt in victims of such crimes. Noida has emerged as the hub of e-banking fraud. This shows that senior citizens have emerged as the latest victims of cybercrime frauds, with criminals tracking them into disclosing their bank details.
While there are the IT Act and IPC to deal with cybercrimes, there need to be special provisions to protect senior citizens from cybercrime. In the USA, there is a specific organization and provisions to protect senior citizens from cybercrime. It will step in the right direction if India can take guidance from those provisions.
Stay Alert! Stay Safe!
For case specific advice, please contact Best Cyber Crime Lawyers of Chandigarh Panchkula Mohali for Cyber Crime related cases in High Court Punjab Haryana & District & Sessions Court.
This post is written Gaurav Kathuria
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