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Digital Arrests

May 16, 2024

The internet has become an essential aspect of our daily lives, revolutionizing how we interact, socialize, share information, entertain ourselves and shop. Its impact is felt in almost every facet of our daily activities. With the vast reach of cyberspace, connecting us to millions of users worldwide, comes the growing concern of cybercrimes. The recent surge in cybercrimes, particularly incidents of blackmail and digital arrests, has raised concerns among citizens and law enforcement agencies alike. Cybercriminals, posing as state/ UT police, NCB, CBI, RBI and other law enforcement agencies, have been targeting unsuspecting victims, extorting money, and causing financial and emotional distress. These fraudsters use sophisticated tactics, including fake phone calls, video conferencing and manipulated digital settings, to deceive their victims. The modus operandi of these criminals typically involves contacting victims, informing them of an alleged crime or contraband item and demanding money to resolve the issue. In some cases, victims are subjected to “digital arrests,” where they are made to remain visually available on video conferencing platforms until their demands are met. The criminals use fake police stations and government offices, complete with uniforms and props, to appear legitimate. The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), under the Ministry of Home Affairs, has been working diligently to combat these crimes. I4C has collaborated with Microsoft to block over 1,000 Skype IDs involved in these activities and has facilitated the blocking of SIM cards, mobile devices, and mule accounts used by fraudsters. Additionally, I4C has issued alerts and advisories through social media platforms, such as Cyberdost, to raise awareness and caution citizens about these types of frauds. Citizens have now been urged by the government to remain vigilant and report any such incidents to the cybercrime helpline number 1930 for assistance. These incidents can also be reported on www.cybercrime.gov.in. This portal is an initiative of Government of India to facilitate victims/ complainants to report cyber crime complaints online. This portal caters all types of cyber crime complaints including complaints pertaining to online Child Pornography (CP), Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) or sexually explicit content such as Rape/Gang Rape (CP/RGR) content and other cyber crimes such as mobile crimes, online and social media crimes, online financial frauds, ransomware, hacking, cryptocurrency crimes and online cyber trafficking. Combating cybercrime necessitates collective vigilance and proactive engagement from all stakeholders. Citizens are the frontline defense against such threats and must remain vigilant in identifying and reporting suspicious activities. Awareness campaigns, both online and offline, play a crucial role in empowering individuals to recognize and thwart attempts at cyber fraud. Moreover, timely reporting of incidents to dedicated cybercrime helplines or online portals is imperative to facilitate swift intervention by law enforcement authorities. It is crucial to spread awareness about these types of frauds and to educate oneself on how to identify and avoid such scams. To stay safe in the online world, it is important to follow some cyber safe practices, which will help in making our online experience productive. 

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