15.3% of Cybercrime Led by UPI Frauds

Posted in Insurance Blogs By Sajhyadri Chattopadhyay-
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  • From April to June 2022, fraud complaints regarding UPI payments rose to 84,145, from 62,350 cases seen between January and March (Q1 and Q2 of 2022). Swapping of credit cards, debit cards, and mobile sims contributed to 26,793 cases, rising from 24,270 in the year’s first quarter. Criminal activities around online banking saw a quarter-on-quarter increase of 19,267. According to the NCRP, the category of ‘Online Financial Fraud’ was the most active, with 67.9% of complaints registered under it. Moreover, such cases continue to rise even today, despite various steps taken to curb this menace. The National Cybercrime Threat Analytics Unit (NCTAU) of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) has undertaken many measures of Cyber Security Cooperation and Cyber Crime Prevention with various Domestic and International Agencies to curb rising online threats.  

Noteworthy Statistics:  

  1. I4C’s quarterly newsletter on cybercrime, ‘Cyber Pravah’, released some key statistics for Q2 2022:  
  • 2,37,658 complaints were lodged under the ‘other crimes’ category on NCRP.  
  • Transactions valued at approximately ₹34 Crore were withheld by financial institutions under the Citizen Financial Cyber Frauds Reporting & Management System (CFCFRMS).  
  • 7.08 lakh details about suspected cyber criminals were aggregated on NCRP’s Suspect Repository.  
  • 9 Advisories on cybercrime information were shared with law enforcement agencies across States, Union Territories (UTs), and concerned stakeholders. 
  • 4,953 forensic services were provided by the National Cyber Crime Forensic Laboratory (NCFL) to LEAs in states and UTs.  
  • 12,382 mobile numbers were linked to cybercrime cases across India.  

These high numbers and percentages, of just a single quarter, are a glaring example of how numerous kinds of cyber-attacks have become abundant in the country. As a result, the Indian Government has started several institutions, platforms, and projects to help in the reporting and redressal of such crimes. 

Started by the Ministry of Home Affairs on 30th August 2019, the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal (NCRP) provides a centralised mechanism to all citizens for reporting any and every type of cybercrime incident online. Recently, the portal reported an alarming surge of 15.3% in complaints during the 2nd quarter of 2022, compared to the 1st.  

A total of 2,37,658 grievances were lodged, corresponding to several categories of cybercrime. Experts have attributed this increase in online malicious activities to the accelerating use of digital platforms for daily transactions, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made us more susceptible to digital threats. 

 

Key Steps Taken:

  • Discussing policy measures with RBI: I4C has undertaken several important preventive measures in collaboration with the RBI. These include introducing Re-KYC in cybercrime hotspots, strict regulation of 3rd party KYC, reviewing and formulating guidelines for fintech firms, capturing geo-location during online transactions, etc.  
  • Holding Cyber ‘Jaagrookta’ Divas: All state ministries and the centre have been asked to hold a cyber awareness programme on the first Wednesday of every month. These can be observed across municipalities, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), schools, colleges, and universities.  
  • Creating mass awareness: Several digital sessions and programmes are being formulated to create and increase awareness about online criminal and fraudulent activities among people. Certified institutes and academies will provide impartial training on numerous topics on cyber security.  
  • Cyber tipline reporting system: Steps have been taken to improve the system of filing cyber fraud and related grievances via Cyber Tipline Reports and their retention on its database. This software was adopted from the National Cybercrime Police Portal (NCPP) of the National Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) in USA.  
  • Capacity building programmes: Many digital programmes, including hands-on training sessions, were organised on the National Cybercrime Police Portal to help capacity building for LEA personnel from states and UTs.  

The UPI Menace:

The success of the unified payments interface (UPI) has been marred by an alarming rise in citizens being robbed or cheated out of their money while conducting transactions online. Data from the Ministry of Home Affairs shows a 34% higher occurrence of cybercrimes via UPI compared to other categories like card and e-banking fraud.  

These numbers and statistics show a consistent rise in cybercrime complaints filed on the centralised portal since 2021. According to the Reserve Bank of India, UPI payments rose by a whopping 1,200% from April to September 2022. With this exponential surge, criminal activity concerning digital finances also skyrocketed.  

How to Protect Yourself Better?

With over 690 million people using the internet, constituting around 40% of the country’s population, India’s digital footprint is second only to China. Digital payments and online banking have seen a boom in both urban and rural areas. However, where there is money, there will always be thieves and crooks, and India’s digital footprint has been marred by a similar surge in cyber fraud. It is, thus, important to know the most common ways fraudsters and hackers steal your money online, as well as how to safeguard yourself against them. 

  1. Keep your UPI PIN to yourself: NEVER; Never share your UPI PIN with anyone. While this seems too obvious advice, you’ll be surprised to know how many people fall prey to this scam. Fraudsters will call or text you, posing as a bank or government employee, and create a fake scenario like getting locked out of your account or an urgent transaction, thus making it seem like an emergency where you must share your PIN number. If anyone ever contacts you asking for the same, please know that it is fraudulent.
     
  2. Maintain proper control of your devices: Never provide access to your mobile or laptop that can be used to access your financial details. Often hackers pretend to be customer care representatives who will need to update some settings on your device to link your account or solve an access issue, etc.
     
  3. Avoid random websites: Never conduct transactions on unknown websites even if they offer you rewards, cashback, or exciting prizes. They will often trick you, asking you to pay around ₹1 as ‘registration charges’, thus gaining access to your UPI PIN or account.
     
  4. Change your PIN frequently: Never continue using the same UPI PIN. Reset it periodically, preferably once a month or at least on a quarterly basis. This will help to secure your account and keep your finances safe.
     
  5. Limit your payment values: It is also advisable to set a limit on the maximum amount possible to be withdrawn from your account, as well as the highest number of transactions that can be carried out on your UPI app.  

 How to Better Protect Your Digital Finances?

There is no question that cyber-crime has continued to rise well beyond the second quarter of the year. While no official summative data or comprehensive report has yet been released, we can see no dearth of the menace in the daily news. “Man loses ₹5 Lakh in cyber-attack”, “Woman defrauded of ₹3 Lakh”, “Elderly conned of ATM Pin”, the headlines speak for themselves. As such we have to take better steps and secure our finances from the dangers of the cyber world.  

 

While the above preventive measures might help, there are more ways to protect yourself against frauds. You can purchase several pocket insurance products to boost your online financial security. From online banking protection to cyber security, choose from a variety of such products available on Bajaj Markets. Take the right decision, browse the various safety and security tools available, and protect your finances, starting today!  

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