Mrunal Manmay Dash

While cyber criminals siphoned off Rs 1,31,25,030 from several gullible people under the Bhubaneswar Urban Police District (UPD) in January this year, only Rs 9,47,550 could be recovered by the Police.

Besides, a total amount of Rs 3,17,879 has been blocked by the Police, before falling into the hands of the fraudsters, which will be returned to the beneficiaries after thorough verification.

As per the data released by the Cyber Crime Help Desk of the Bhubaneswar UPD, the sleuths received a total of 360 calls complaining about cyber frauds in January. Out of this 331 calls were received from Bhubaneswar and 29 from various parts of the State.

Similarly, from the 331 calls in Bhubaneswar, 192 complaints were related to UPI frauds, 102 credit card and debit card frauds and 37 were complaints related to other modes of cyber crime.

Bhubaneswar DCP, Umashankar Dash said, “Almost 90 percent of the frauds are committed through UPIs. And in every case, the fraudsters initially ask the targeted person to send small amounts, like Rs 10, to verify the account and return it, before asking for a big amount. Once the money is transferred, the fraudsters never give it back.”

Dash urged smartphone users to use their device cautiously and never click on any suspicious link. “Cyber fraud is a type of crime which is entirely avoidable if we create awareness among ourselves,” Dash said.

Answering a question on the rise in crimes, Dash said, “The total money involved cannot be considered as an indicator of the rise in crime as a fraud can take Rs 5000 or Rs 5 Lakh depending on the balance one has in his/her account. However, an increase in the number of complaints can be attributed to a rise in crimes. We have already setup a cyber Police Station in Bhubaneswar and it has just started receiving complaints. I am sure it will help in cracking more and more cases.”

A total of 44 mobile numbers have been blocked by the department through the National Cyber Safe Portal during the period.