Kerala police chief writes to RBI and MHA to curb cyber crimes

Wants to rein in unfettered use of current accounts of Indian banks from other nations
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Representative image

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The surge in digital financial crimes has prompted the State Police Chief to write to the Reserve Bank of India and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), asking them to rein in the unfettered use of current accounts of Indian banks from other countries. DGP Shaik Darvesh Saheb has also sought a restriction on the number of electronic devices using which digital transactions can be done from an account, sources with the police department said.

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Professionals & businessmen worst hit by cyber crimes in Kerala

The police chief sent the recommendations in March after cyber scamsters operating from various countries swindled more than Rs 200 crore from the state last year. Darvesh Saheb has also suggested preparing credibility scores for each bank account based on various parameters. When the user attempts a transaction with an account with a low credibility score, a pop-up message should appear, alerting them about the potential risk, the proposal read. The proposal was sent by the police chief based on an analysis by the state cyber investigation wing, a source said.

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AI tool to help cops curb cyber crime

The cyber wing had reported that cyber fraud can be curbed only by enhancing technology. It was found that a majority of the digital financial crimes originated from Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The scamsters employ Indians to collect details of potential victims and then make calls enticing them into investing in fraudulent schemes. The majority of the firms engaged in financial fraud were owned by Chinese nationals.

The cyber wing investigation also revealed that the swindled cash was channelled using current accounts drawn from Indian banks. The scamsters obtained these accounts using fraudulent means. It is specifically to curb this illegal use of current bank accounts that the state police chief has asked the authorities concerned to restrict their operation from other countries.

According to police sources, technology needs to be put in place for bank servers to identify an Indian current bank account being operated from a foreign IP address,

“Current accounts are meant to be operated within India. For firms having global operations, they can give the signatory authority to people residing in the country to operate such accounts. Hundreds of transactions, involving humongous amounts, are taking place in accounts being used by cybercriminals. The banks should have the technology to identify such malicious accounts,” a source said.

The proposal to prepare credibility scores for each account is to enable the users to identify fraudulent accounts.

“Banks can score each account based on various parameters. When a person is about to transact money to an account that has a poor credibility score, then the bank should send a pop-up message reminding the risk involved in dealing with that account. That is one sure way of saving the gullible from falling into the trap of the fraudsters,” the source said.

The third proposal -- to limit the number of devices that can access an account -- is to prevent unauthorised people from accessing them online. The scamsters often steal the One Time Passwords (OTP) sent via e-mail or SMS by various means and log into the accounts. To prevent trespass, it has been proposed to white-list a small number of electronic devices so that they alone can access the accounts.

“Only a few mobile phones and computers should be white-listed to access one bank account. Any attempt made from devices other than the ones white-listed should be blocked. Countries such as Israel have incorporated several security features to safeguard the account holders from cyber criminals and it’s high time we too did it,” the police source added.

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