BENGALURU: The digital push by the Union government may have made a difference in making transactions more traceable and people more accountable. But cyber fraudsters across the country are also making the most of it. Statistics reveal that Rs 2 lakh was siphoned off every hour by fraudsters through credit/debit cards and internet banking in 2017.
Despite attempts to curb credit card/debit card and internet banking frauds, a total of Rs 178 crore was stolen across the country last year. This is the highest amount cheated in the banking system till date. An average of Rs 48 lakh is lost to scamsters every day according to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, based on fraud misappropriation reports submitted by banks till December 21, 2017.
According to RBI reports, Karnataka stood third in the country in credit/debit cards and internet banking frauds in 2016-17. There were 221 cases registered related to frauds totalling Rs 9.16 crore. Maharastra stood first at Rs 12.10 crore. As per the data, cyber crimes in Karnataka have increased in the last three years. In 2014-15, a total of 91 cases were registered in connection with frauds amounting to Rs 4.3 crore; in 2015-16, 179 cases were registered with Rs 4.7 crore loss. The reported cases were where the amount lost was more than Rs 1 lakh. Cases of frauds of less than Rs 1 lakh were not considered in the report.
The extent of online frauds can be gauged by the fact that the cyber crime police station in Bengaluru registered as many as 250 cases in just one month this year. Experts say incidents of banking frauds are under-reported due to lack of awareness. Though RBI has, in the past, claimed to have taken measures, banking frauds have only increased in every financial quarter in 2017. From cases involving skimming to phishing to hacking into the banking systems, the vulnerability of the banking systems and lack of awareness among customers have cost account-holders dearly.
In the last week of January, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, in a circular, admitted that there is a lack of awareness about the modus operandi cyber criminals adopt to cheat people and directed state DGPs to create regular awareness campaigns advising people not to share their user IDs, passwords, debit/credit card PINs and OTPs etc. The Ministry also suggested that the help of financial institutions, NGOs, educational institutions and resident associations be taken for such campaigns.
K Mookhey, CEO & Founder of Network Intelligence, a global cyber security firm, said compared to the volume of transactions, the money lost to frauds may look small, but definitely cannot be ignored.