City cops no longer depend on Mumbai forensic laboratory
While the city police, after the inauguration of a new lab, are expecting a better detection rate for cybercrime, they are still facing a very tough time reducing them.
Within the first six months of this year, the Navi Mumbai cyber cell has received 838 complaints, a majority of which are card frauds and vishing. The number of complaints received in the corresponding duration of 2015 was just 512.
The statistics reveal that 326 more people fell prey to the cyber frauds this year recording a 63.67% rise in such cases.
“When it comes to card frauds, the culprits take details of the victims’ cards posing as bank officials. In some other cases, they use skimmers on the unguarded ATMs and that’s how they procure the card details. With those details they make a duplicate card and use it for online shopping,” said Ankush Khedkar, head of Navi Mumbai cyber cell.
According Khedkar, apart from the cyber cell, such crimes are also registered at different police stations.
Therefore, the total number of registered cybercrimes so far this year is not clear.
“We have observed that one common reason behind most of such crimes is greed. Instead of directly asking for secret details, the cyber frauds now also talk about some bonus points. They lure the prospective victims by saying that if they upgrade their records by giving their credit card or debit card number, account number, PIN number or date of birth they will get some bonus points and thus an amount of Rs 1,000-2,500 will be credited to their bank accounts. Greedy people do not take much time to give their details when they are told such things and thus they end up losing money,” Khedkar said.
“Same is the case with lottery frauds. Some victims even received calls from number issued by foreign countries,” he added.
The police are, however, helping the victims in getting back the money they lost, from their respective banks. In July alone, the banks gave around Rs 10 lakh to the victims after the police vouched for their loss.
Khedekar said, “When we realise that a person has genuinely lost money to such criminals, we register the case instantly and also write to the bank officials. The banks then give that money to the victims following the guideline of the Reserve Bank of India.”
“We have sent the recovered objects for analysis to the forensic lab in Kalina. The investigation will progress after we receive reports from the lab.” Until last week, this was a common statement by Navi Mumbai police on investigations into serious crimes.
Any electronic device or gadget such as mobile phones, laptops and hard disks that might carry evidence of a crime are sent to the forensic lab by the police. With the inauguration of the cybercrime lab at the police commissioner’s office on Independence Day, the city’s cops are no longer dependent on Mumbai’s forensic lab.
The police can examine and analyse such items, and retrieve deleted data in the lab. Since this lab will be used exclusively for crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the Navi Mumbai police, the analysis will not take long and thus, investigations will be expedited.
In view of increasing cybercrimes across the country, the state established 44 such labs in the state on August 15. A team of six trained officers under the guidance of two senior officers have been appointed at the lab. “This lab may not help in reducing cybercrimes, but it will definitely increase the detection rate. We have advanced technologies like Advik tools and True back tools in the lab,” said Dilip Sawant, deputy commissioner of police (crime).
According to Sawant, the investigation into the murder of a Dalit boy by a mob in Nerul last month exemplifies how the police will be benefit from this lab. “The girl’s family was infuriated after they learnt that the girl had sent her photograph to the boy on his mobile. They took away his phone, but did not find the photograph. So they visited his residence at SBI Colony to check if he stored the photo in his computer after deleting it from his mobile. We can retrieve such deleted data from any device instantly,” he said.
“Such labs have become necessary to investigate even traditional crimes. Almost all criminals now use mobile phones, computers, laptops and internet,” said another senior officer who was earlier head of the Pune cyber cell.