Trust: It is a word that holds immense value in this world. It is the foundation on which any and all kinds of relationships are built. When misused, it can lead to severe issues. One must thus, be wise over whom to trust. This must especially be the case when choosing to share your personal details with someone over digital platforms. Trust is the key factor that drives cybercrime.
A Police Sub-Inspector at the Cyber Police Station, Pune who chose to answer anonymously said, “a majority of cybercrimes starts with individuals trusting an unknown and unverified source/person.”
With India moving rapidly towards digitization, the number of cybercrimes in the country has shot up. As of 2020, India recorded over 50 thousand cases with the highest being in Uttar Pradesh followed by Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Although these states have reported the highest number of cybercrimes, the fraudsters are based out of these states. The PSI said the fraudsters are mostly based in states like West Bengal and Rajasthan. Delhi too has many fraudsters who dupe people with mainly monetary theft and extortion.
The inspector further explained the fraudsters take their time to build trust with their target and then attack. This is why many people easily get trapped. There are many ways to gain someone’s trust. Most of the online and banking thefts occur because the fraudsters make everything look authentic or lure people with exciting offers. He said, “for example, fraudsters encourage people to invest money into something by promising them of doubling their invested money. On a trial basis, the fraudsters usually ask people to send them a small amount of money and then immediately send them back double the amount they paid (the amount is usually small like Rs 10) just to gain their trust. Once they gain that trust, they ask people to send them a huge sum of money.”
Although cyber crimes are on the rise for the past few years, there are multiple easy and logical ways to stay secure. The most important of it all is to connect with only authentic and known sources. If a source is unknown or new, be sure to verify it before trusting it. For example, nowadays it is easy for anyone to build a website, but that doesn’t mean it is authentic even though it may look like. The best way to find out is its URL. Generally, all the websites having ‘https’ in their websites are secure, although 100% authenticity cannot be guaranteed. Another way is to check the contact numbers. Any official and genuine website will always display landline office numbers and not mobile numbers.
Similarly, one must not do any kind of transaction with an unknown body/person, click on any unknown links, reveal personal details and credentials, bank details, and OTPs, to any stranger.
If you happen to fall prey to cybercrime, the PSI said that it is extremely crucial to report the crime within 2 hours of its occurrence. The complainant must also provide all the correct details and proofs if any instead of deleting them.
Most of the time, cybercrimes occur because literate citizens encourage and entertain unverified sources to lure them either economically or personally. If we start acting responsibly and be more alert, cybercrime cases can drastically come down in India.