Web of Cyber Frauds: Complaints in Lakhs, FIRs in Thousands, But Arrests in Only 1% Cases


The National Cyber Crime Portal (NCRP) has received 31 lakh complaints related to cyber frauds till February 2024 since 2020. (Getty)

The National Cyber Crime Portal (NCRP) has received 31 lakh complaints related to cyber frauds till February 2024 since 2020. (Getty)

Official data indicates that total cases registered or FIRs filed by different law enforcement agencies related to cyber frauds are over 66,000, but arrests made till this year are just 500.

From AIIMS cyber attack to ICMR data leak and loan lending app frauds, the National Cyber Crime Portal (NCRP) has received 31 lakh complaints related to cyber frauds till February 2024 since 2020. According to an official communication of the Central government, the major concern is the very low number of arrests in cyber fraud cases.

The government data says total arrests in cyber fraud cases amount to not even 1 per cent of the total cases registered by law enforcement agencies. Official data indicates that total cases registered or FIRs filed by different law enforcement agencies related to cyber frauds are over 66,000, but arrests made till this year are just 500.

The matter has been raised in different meetings of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Finance. In a recent meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC), the issue of very low arrests was also raised by several stakeholders.

Different officials raised concerns about loan lending apps, which are significantly impacting India’s financial infrastructure and damaging the economic well-being of people, especially those from low-income groups.

The major challenge in arresting individuals behind these cyber frauds is the slow pace of investigation. A senior official who attended the FSDC meeting told News18 on the condition of anonymity that loan lending apps operating from China are a major concern. “Loan lending apps are denting not only financial institutions but also the public’s economic well-being. Low-income groups are the main victims, with significant amounts of their money being transferred to different countries. Indians involved in the crime and aiding China-based operators are also victims,” the official said.

Recently, the central government had asked tech giants to deploy experts to curb the menace. Advertisements orchestrated by organised threat actors, some of whom operate from abroad, have raised serious concerns and the government has urged companies like Google, Meta to take the matter with high importance.

Analysis by a central cyber agency had revealed that numerous mobile applications are running ad campaigns through Meta platforms. There have already been multiple suicide cases reported across India linked to harassment and extortion by illegal app operators and loan recovery agents. The exploitation of users through the misuse of app permissions exacerbates the issue, with harvested credentials and data posing future cybercrime risks.

In the meeting of FSDC, the matter was raised by several stakeholders, and it was decided to bring it to the attention of the Ministry of Home Affairs, official said.

According to sources, the concerns have been flagged to MHA and the ministry is likely to hold a meeting with different agencies to find a solution to increase the pace of investigation and arrests.

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