On the cards: Dedicated helpline for debit/credit card frauds

Mumbai: An SMS or email in the middle of the night about an online transaction or withdrawal to the tune of thousands or lakhs of rupees is enough to send chills down anyone's spine.

It is scarier when that transaction is made from another city or even worse, from a different country. With the state cybercell already having an anti-phishing unit in place to tackle such problems,

Mumbai Police are likely to set up a dedicated helpline to deal with debit and credit card scams, owing to the rise in cybercrime in the city.

Increasingly more such cases are being registered with the cyberpolice and the cybercell of Mumbai Police, so a dedicated helpline is long overdue. It will be the refuge of those who have fallen prey to the debit/credit card scams.

Presently, victims either visit the nearest police station or complain on the Mumbai Police’s Twitter handle. The idea of a helpline is to provide an immediate helping hand to the victim.

A senior cyberpolice officer said, “The number of instances of debit/credit card frauds has increased after police created awareness and fair registration of First Information Report (FIR). The FIR, however, is secondary. What should be done immediately is the crux of the matter in such cases.”

The detection rate for cybercrimes is depressing -- this year, hardly 16 per cent cases had been cracked till May-end. Of a total of 498 cases registered in the first six months of 2019,

only 75 cases have been solved, according to data procured by Mumbai Cyberpolice. Last year, city police received 1,362 such complaints and resolved 260 of them, a success rate of just 19.1 per cent.

A cyberpolice officer attributed the rise in the number of cases to more people coming forward to register complaints. “Detection and conviction rates are a problem that cyberpolice are still tackling.

However, over the last year, more than 1,500 policemen were trained at the police station-level and there is a separate cybercell in every police station. Hopefully, this should improve detection and conviction rates," said the officer.

Cyberexpert Haren Das opined that a dedicated helpline can prove to be an asset in cracking card fraud and increase the otherwise dipping detection rate.

Das said, "It becomes difficult to catch hold of such criminals as they normally use bouncing internet protocol (IP) addresses and host channels, giving police the slip. Such a helpline can at least try to get a reversal into the victim’s bank account, by acting swiftly."

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