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Drastic increase in cybercrime complaints in Meghalaya

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SHILLONG, June 21: The number of documented cybercrime complaints in Meghalaya has increased drastically in recent years.
According to the police, the cybercrime complaints received in the state till June 4 this year was 2,564. Taking note of the increasing cases, the police issued an advisory asking people to be cautious and alert.
In the age of information technology, the power to send and receive information is right in one’s fingertips. However, the digital sphere’s development and the endless scope for connectivity and development unlock new avenues for crime.
Financial fraud, which has seen a surge nationwide, is the predominant category of cybercrime, accounting for nearly 70% of the total cases reported.
Special Superintendent of Police (CID), Vivek Syiem said the citizens should know that crimes in the digital sphere have skyrocketed. He advised them to adopt the best practices and stay safe online to protect their privacy, information, and finances.
Stating that only 9 complaints were received in 2019, he said the numbers increased to 118 in 2020, followed by 224 in 2021 and 735 in 2022. In 2023, there were altogether 892 complaints. This year, 586 complaints were received till June 4.
With the help of MHA portal “cybercrime.gov.in” and helpline number 1930, fraudulent amount of Rs 1,64,00,000 out of around Rs 8,00,00,000 was successfully put on hold.
Giving details, Syiem said there is a parcel scam in which a victim receives a call from an individual who claims he or she is from a delivery company (FedEx, DHL, etc.) and informs the victim that his or her parcel has been flagged by the police as it contained contraband and other illegal items.
The call then gets transferred to a bogus policeman who convinces the victim to make online cash transfers to avoid legal action and the freezing of his or her bank account.
On the dos and don’ts, Syiem said people should not entertain an unknown caller, especially if the person claims to be a high-ranking official from the Police Department, Customs, CBI etc. He advised that the number should be immediately blocked.
He asked people not to share any confidential data (Aadhar ID, personal photograph) or click any link or install any App on the instruction of unknown callers.
Another scam is “Sextortion” in which cybercriminals befriend male targets through Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media platforms and initiate sexual/obscene video chat via WhatsApp/other video chat platforms.
They entice the target to perform sexual activity in front of the camera and surreptitiously record the entire process. Later, the recorded content is used to blackmail the victim.
The police advised people not to accept friend request randomly from strangers or entertain/accept video calls. The police also asked them not to make payments under any circumstances as a blackmail call may come asking for money in return for deletion of the obscene video.
Another scam is “WhatsApp Impersonation Attack” in which conmen gather available information of any organization/department and its employees from the public domain. Thereafter, they impersonate as the superior official of a particular organization/department by using their name and picture with the aim of duping the subordinates.
The fraudsters then initiate chats with selected subordinates on the pretext that he/she is attending a very urgent meeting and unable to make calls and hence, ask for their favour to purchase Amazon e-gift cards or make payments to prospect on his/her behalf.

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