Bengaluru: The year 2016 has seen a surge in cases of cyber crimes, not just in terms of numbers but in the types of frauds through which many Bengalureans were dispossessed of their hard-earned money.
Topping the charts are online matrimonial cheating cases culminating in girls losing lakhs of rupees to scamsters who entice them with offers of marriage. Such incidents form over 40 per cent of the cases reported in cyber police stations.
The victims are women primarily in the 35-50 age group looking for a possible marriage match online. There are instances of women transferring anywhere from Rs. 2 lakh to over Rs. 20 lakh after being ‘hooked’ to scamsters who pose as doctors, engineers and even scientists based in Europe.
These are followed by business email hacking fraud where online crooks gained access to business accounts, often featuring poor firewalls, of small-time businesspersons. The business owners are offered lucrative orders from clients overseas. Six businessmen have so far sought police help to track and the retrieve lakhs of rupees that they had wired to suspicious bank accounts.
Another modus operandi involves touts approaching cellphone service providers and deactivating a victim’s SIM card, which is linked to his online bank account. In one such case, a gang siphoned off Rs. 45 lakh from a city businessman.
Then there are lottery scams, overseas job scams and instances of people claiming to be wealthy European elders offering to adopt Indians. However, the sad truth remains that the chances of investigators cracking such cases is slim and recovery of lost money is a rarity. The key is awareness about online fraud and staying vigilant.