Pune Cyber Crime: Rs 41.3 Crore Lost in 76 Online Fraud Cases This Year

Cyber Fraud
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Pune, 18th December 2023: A recent study conducted by Pune Police’s Cyber Crime Police Station has shed light on the alarming rise in online fraud cases across the city. Victims of 76 reported cases have collectively suffered losses amounting to Rs 41.3 crore between January and December 2 this year.

The study, encompassing 76 FIRs filed at the Cyber Crime Police Station and an additional 60 FIRs in various other police stations, emphasizes the pervasive nature of online fraud. Senior Inspector Meenal Patil, leading the Cyber Police, revealed that out of the 255 total FIRs, 76 were related to online fraud, with others involving social media, data thefts, hacking, and more.

Several victims, as indicated by preliminary complaint applications, have fallen victim to online fraudsters, resulting in an estimated Rs50 crore loss. The frauds encompass a range of schemes, including task fraud, courier parcel fraud, loan fraud, gift fraud, job fraud, and OTP fraud.

Task frauds and courier parcel frauds have emerged as predominant themes in this year’s cases, leading to substantial financial losses for the victims. Patil highlighted that, notably, victims themselves transferred money to the scamsters in the majority of cases.

Efforts by the police have resulted in freezing Rs 4.1 crore deposited by fraudsters in various bank accounts, with Rs 3.5 lakh successfully returned to the victims. However, challenges arise when victims delay reporting the fraud, allowing fraudsters to transfer funds to other accounts.

The study also uncovered that a significant number of fraudsters operate from countries like Dubai, China, and Bangladesh. These criminals often use masked Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) with fake IDs to communicate with victims through text messages.

In cases involving large sums, exceeding Rs25 lakh, fraudsters swiftly transfer money from bank accounts to e-wallets of various cryptocurrencies within hours of the fraud. Subsequent cryptocurrency trades typically occur outside the country, complicating law enforcement efforts.

The report illustrates various modus operandi employed by fraudsters, including duping a medical practitioner, a real estate agent, and a private company employee. Instances of attacks, robberies, and online task fraud have become increasingly prevalent, urging citizens to remain vigilant against evolving cyber threats.