Author: Harshit Sharma, B.A. LL.B.(Hons.), 4th Year,
Amity Law School, Amity University Madhya Pradesh.
We are living in the arena of waves & technology, where we all are connected with the help of computers and networks, which are known in common parlance as ‘Cyber-Space’.
The biggest problem of this cyber-space is the anonymous character of the user and the identification of the user’s physical presence is always in question. Therefore, to regulate & govern the cyber-space, Government of India took initiative in the year of 2000 by bringing the Information Technology Act, 2000.
The similar Act envisages in its various sections, certain offences and crimes, which may be categorised as follows:[i]
- Tampering with the computer source documents.
- Hacking with the computer system.
- Publishing of information which is obscene in electronic form.
- Power of Controller to give directions
- Directions of Controller to a subscriber to extend facilities to decrypt information
- Protected system
- Penalty for misrepresentation
- Penalty for breach of confidentiality and privacy
- Penalty for publishing Digital Signature Certificate false in certain particulars
- Publication for fraudulent purpose
- Act to apply for offence or contravention committed outside India
- Penalties or confiscation not to interfere with other punishments.
- Power to investigate offences.
Thereby, when these crimes are committed, the only remedy for the grievances of the victim lies by making a complaint to the police, or specifically cyber-crime cell, of the desired district, if present.
This piece of research will put light on the complaint making mechanism and what steps are to be adhered for filing a complaint against the perpetrators of this category of crime.
- Why Cyber-crime complaint process be known to everyone
IMAGE 1: Cyber-Crime rate in India.[ii]
The main reason is the increasing crime-rate and more sensitization towards privacy as well as data leakages cases.
Moreover, the study shows that Women and Children have been found to be the prime victims of such category of crimes. As the INCOGNITO FORENSIC FOUNDATION quotes,
“Women and children have been found to be most gullible in the online world with cybercrimes against women and children witnessing a sharp rise over the last couple of years. Women are often subjected to cybercrimes such as cyber harassment, online stalking, cyber pornography, cyber defamation, matrimonial-frauds and much more.
Children are also soft targets for cyber criminals as most teenagers and adolescents manage their online presence without adult guidance. It is hard to get over the spate of deaths of innocent teenagers resulting from the online suicidal game – Blue Whale. In fact, as parents, if you observe restlessness, insomnia, excess addiction to the internet or other unnatural changes in your child’s behaviour, then it is about time that you exercise caution and monitor your child’s online activities.
Apart from these, online financial frauds have also become an everyday occurrence. Each day, thousands of innocent individuals fall prey to online banking and credit/debit card frauds.
Statistics show that over 25,800 online banking frauds were reported in 2017, which amounted to nearly ₹179 crore!!”[iii]
Furthermore, there are certain consequences of cyber-crime which are also the riding force behind knowing the process for complaint-making, so as to avoid the same in long-run. Some of such consequences are described here:[iv]
- Revenue Loss – The data leakage of companies and other sensitive dates may cause revenue loss and these are primarily relating to the software cloning, hacking etc.
- Reputation Damage –Reputation takes time to be built, but is destroyed in a second. Hacking of personal information can hit hard to the reputation and mostly they are the defamatory intention behind committing such crimes. It is mostly seen in the cases where the bank accounts or the credit/debit cards are hacked and customers lose trust in an organization.
- Reduced Productivity – In India the employee’s efficiency is generally reduced due to the implementation of security measures to neutralize the effect of cybercrime and additionally it also hampers the productivity of an organization.
- Aftermath of Cyber Terrorism –This affects large masses at once and can weaken countries’ economy greatly, thereby stripping them of its resources and making it more vulnerable to military attack. It can lead to disseminate such information which can destroy trust of people in the government of the Nation and can deeply affect the integrity & sovereignty of the nation when seen from a broader perspective.
- Impact on Society and Government- Moving from Cave to Computer, the mankind has seen a drastic change in the commission & reflection of offences from the time physical harm was prevalent, to today when no physical attempt is required for committing some terrorist acts. This illustration can be witnessed in the case when some young hackers hacked Maharashtra government’s website. As technology increases between governments that are caught up in international business, criminals have realized that this is a cost-efficient method of making money.
Therefore, the need to know the filing procedure is of utmost importance.
- Step-by-Step Process of filing the Cyber-crime Complaint
The very first step to file a cyber crime complaint is to register a written complaint with the cyber crime cell of the city you are currently in. The addresses of some of the cyber-crime cell are hereby reproduced:[v]
|Assam||CID HQ, Dy.SP.
Ph: +91-361-252-618, +91-9435045242
|Bangalore||Cyber Crime Police Station
C.O.D Headquarters, Carlton House, # 1, Palace Road,
Bangalore – 560 001
+91-80-2220 1026 +91-80-2294 3050
+91-80-2238 7611 (FAX)
|Delhi||CBI Cyber Crime Cell:
Superintendent of Police,
Cyber Crime Investigation Cell
Central Bureau of Investigation,
5th Floor, Block No.3, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road,
New Delhi – 3
|Pune||Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime)
Office of the Commissioner Office,
2, Sadhu Vaswani Road, Camp, Pune 411001
+91-20-26123346, +91-20-26127277, +91-20-2616 5396
+91-20-2612 8105 (Fax)
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
|Jharkhand||IG-CID, Organized Crime
Rajarani Building, Doranda Ranchi, 834002
Ph: +91-651-2400 737/ 738
|Haryana||Cyber Crime and Technical Investigation Cell,
Joint Commissioner of Police
Old S.P. Office complex, Civil Lines, Gurgaon
CPO Complex, Panjtirthi, Jammu-180004
|Meghalaya||SCRB, Superintendent of Police
Ph: +91 98630 64997
|Bihar||Cyber Crime Investigation Unit
ADDL. SP (CYBER CELL), Kotwali Police Station, Patna
Ph: +91 8986912829
|Chennai||Assistant Commissioner of Police
Cyber Crime Cell, Central Crime Branch,
Commissioner office Campus
Vepery, Chennai- 600007
Contact Details: +91-40-2345 2348, 2345 2350
|For Rest of Tamil Nadu,||Cyber Crime Cell, CB, CID, Chennai
ph.: +91 44 2250 2512
E-mail id: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Hyderabad||Cyber Crime Police Station
Crime Investigation Department,
3rd Floor, D.G.P. office, Lakdikapool,
Hyderabad – 500004
+91-40-2324 0663, +91-40-2785 2274
+91-40-2785 2040, +91-40-2329 7474 (Fax)
|Thane||3rd Floor, Police Commissioner Office
Near Court Naka, Thane West, Thane 400601.
+91-22-25424444, E-Mail: email@example.com
|Gujarat||DIG, CID, Crime and Railways
Fifth Floor, Police Bhavan
Sector 18, Gandhinagar 382 018
+91-79-2325 4384, +91-79-2325 0798
+91-79-2325 3917 (Fax)
|Madhya Pradesh||IGP, Cyber Cell, Police Radio Headquarters Campus, Bhadadhadaa Road, Bhopal (M.P.) Ph: 0755-2770248, 2779510|
|Mumbai||Cyber Crime Investigation Cell
Office of Commissioner of Police office, Annex -3 Building,
1st floor, Near Crawford Market, Mumbai-01.
E-mail id: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Himachal Pradesh||CID Cyber Cell,
Superintendent of Police, Cyber Crime, State CID, Himachal Pradesh, Shimla-2
Ph: 0177-2621714 Ext: 191, 0177-2627955
Police Head Quarters
+91-471 272 1547, +91-471 272 2768
|Orissa||Cyber Crime Police Station,
CID, CB, Odisha, Cuttack-753001
E-mail ID: – email@example.com
|Punjab||Cyber Crime Police Station
DSP Cyber Crime,
S.A. SNagar, Patiala, Punjab
Ph: +91 172 2748 100
|Uttar Pradesh||Cyber Crime Cell,
Agra Range 7, Kutchery Road,
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.comCyber Crime Cell,
Law Enforcement Agency,
Police Line, Agra – 282001
Furthermore, to quote according to the IT Act, a cybercrime comes under the purview of global jurisdiction. This means that a cyber crime complaint can be registered with any of the cyber cells in India, irrespective of the place where it was originally committed.
When filing the cybercrime complaint, you need to provide your name, contact details, and address for mailing. Moreover, the complaint needed to be written to the Head of the Cyber Crime Cell of the city where you are filing the cybercrime complaint.
For the reference, a sample application is hereby provided as follows:
“SANDIP SHRIKANT JOSHI
D / 11, Meghana Society,
Behind Tulsidham Apartments,
Vadodara – 390011
MOB.: 93274 62711
The Police commissioner,
SUB: COMPLAINT ABOUT FRAUDULENT LOAN OFFER AND CYBER CRIME.
I, the undersigned is the Proprietor of SAKSHI INFOTECH, VADODARA, GUJARAT and involved in computer Hardware Business for the last more than 20 years.
On this 6th Dec 2018 I had received a call from 7451007825 stating that they were calling from marketing dept. of BAJAJ FINSERV offering a personal Loan of Rs. 5 Lacs @ 5 % per Anum. It was a very lucrative offer I was constrained to step in to accept the offer. Then from different numbers like 08505935166,08505935172, 8755427546 I had received calls and they had succeeded to convince me that the part and parcel of the loan process. I need to take an insurance in advance for that Rs. 50,000/- I had transferred fund online by IMPS to their mentioned account in continuation of that on 7th Dec 2018 through NEFT I had transferred Rs.28,600/- so in Total I had transferred Rs.78,600/- to their mentioned account RBL BANK, CAHNDNI CHAWK BRANCH ,DELHICurrent A/c No. : 309006118888 in the Beneficiary name of BAJAJ FINSERV through my business account overdraft A/c. No.06575118116, COSMOS BANK, KOTHI POLE BRANCH, VADODARA GUJARAT IFSC CODE : COSB0000065
NAME: SAKSHI INFOTECH, VADODARA
Actually, it was a fraud with me as above-mentioned beneficiary name BAJAJ FINSERV didn’t match account no. which was given by them. So, it was not supposed to be transferred as name and account No. was mismatched.
When I enquired about this transaction to RBL BANK, CAHNDNI CHAWK BRANCH, DELHI. Bank Officers told me that amount has been transferred and withdrawn by the account holder. But I was surprised to know above-mentioned account No. was not Current account but it was Savings account in the name ROHIT TIWARI. So how this transaction was accepted and succeeded by RBL BANK’s System. So, we have doubt Bank Officers are also involved in this fraud. Mobile No. of ROHIT TIWARI is 72899 15100.
Since I had contacted Vadodara Local Police cybercrime and they suggested me to register a complaint to you.
So I am a middle-class person I cannot afford to lose such a huge amount. So, it is a humble request to you take the necessary action against above-mentioned people and help me to recover my Rs.78,600/-. The transaction details and emails received from ROHIT TIWARI I enclosed herewith.
It is advised that in the cases of Online harassment, a legal counsel can be approached so that he can assist while reporting the matter in a better and efficient way, due to the higher technicalities involved.
Sometimes, there might be circumstances where you may not find the cyber-cell or certain cyber-crimes are within the purview of Indian Penal Code 1860, or it is not within your reach and the matter is of urgent nature, then you can file a First Information Report (FIR) at the local police station. In case your complaint is not accepted there,
IMAGE 2: Important note to keep in mind while reporting a cyber-crime under Indian Penal Code, 1860.[vii]
- Filing complaints related to Social Media Cyber Crimes
The foremost vigilance that is needed to be taken into consideration apart from following the aforementioned procedure is that you should report the same to the concerned social media platform.
Moreover, it is to be noted that social media has its own reporting procedure for the abuse and has set-up a clear redressal mechanism, which is needed to have resorted first and then the conventional procedure of filing complaint may be used afterwards.
- Online complaint filing Mechanism
There are initiatives taken by some of the State’s cyber cell police stations by providing an online platform to the victims of cybercrimes to file a complaint even though from remote places and never bothering themselves, physically. (please refer www.cybercrime.gov.in)
One such example is of the Indore city in Madhya Pradesh, whose website http://www.indorepolice.org/cyber-crime.phpshows the following window:
IMAGE 3: Online Complaint Filing Mechanism of Indore.[viii]
But still, this initiative is under-development, so many States or cities are not equipped with this platform and most Police Headquarters are working on the same.
- Documents to be attested with an application of certain offences
The documents which are required to be submitted with the complaints referring to various cyber-crimes are hereby provided:
- For Email Based Complaints
- A written brief about the offence
- A copy of the suspected email as received by the original receiver (forwarded emails should be avoided)
- The complete header of the suspected email
- Hard and soft copies of the alleged email and its header
- Ensure that the soft copy is provided in a CD-R
- For Social Media Based Complaints
- A copy or screenshot showing the alleged profile/content
- A screenshot of the URL of the alleged content
- Hard and soft copies of the alleged content
- Ensure that the soft copy is provided in a CD-R
- For Mobile Application Based Complaints
- A screenshot of the alleged app and the location from where it was downloaded
- The victim’s bank statements in case any transactions were made after the incident
- Soft copies of all the aforesaid documents
- For Business Email Based Complaints
- A written brief about the offence
- Originating name and location
- Originating bank name and account number
- Recipient’s name (as in bank records)
- Recipient’s bank account number
- Recipient’s bank location (not mandatory)
- Date and amount of transaction
- SWIFT number
- For Data Theft Complaints
- A copy of the stolen data
- The copyright certificate of the allegedly stolen data
- Details of the suspected employee(s)
- The following documents are required in relation to the suspected employee(s):
- Letter of Appointment
- Non-disclosure Agreement
- Assigned list of duty
- List of clients that the suspect handles
- The proof of breach of your copyright data
- Devices used by the accused during his/her term of service (only if available)
- For Ransomware/Malware Complaints
- The email ID, phone number or evidence of any other means of communication through which the demand for ransom was made
- In case the malware was sent as an email attachment, screenshots of the email with the complete header of the first receiver
- For Internet Banking/Online Transactions/Lottery Scam/Fake Call Related Complaints
- Bank statements of the concerned bank for the last six months
- A copy of the SMSs received related to the suspected transactions
- Copy of the victim’s ID and address proof as in bank records
- For Bitcoin Based Complaints
- A written brief about the offence
- The address of the bitcoin
- The amount of bitcoin in question
- The address from/to whom the purchase/sale of the bitcoins have been done
- For Online Cheating Complaints
- A print out of the alleged email with its complete header as received by the original receiver (forwarded emails should be avoided)
- Victim’s bank statement
- Details of the suspected transactions
- Soft copies of all the aforesaid documents
Conclusion & Suggestions
Though Cyberlaw is the field which is still in the development phase, the ultimate responsibility lies on the citizens to get aware about such transitions in crime and if people are sensitised from themselves, then the administrative agencies and civil society will work toward the same and changing the scenario of it in the Nation.
Therefore, when we will register more complaints of cyberlaw, the police will also take keen interest and will take efforts to record and investigate and which will ultimately aid the police people to get them equipped with tools to solve such new crimes, as opposed to the traditional criminal offences such as, murder, robbery, rape etc.
Thus, the only suggestion in this respect is that people/citizens should get aware and they should be security guards of their own information, then only cyber-crimes in India can be prevented because Privacy and Life are 2 important aspects which goes hand-in-hand.
In lieu of the same, I would like to quote that,
“Passwords or Data are like underwear: don’t let people see it, change it very often, and you shouldn’t share it with strangers.”
– Chris Pirillo
So, be safe and always do your duty! Because you never know when someone might take ill-advantage of your shared information.
[i] Rahul Deo, Offences under IT Act 2000, ACADEMIKE (Jan. 04, 2019, 02:38PM), https://www.lawctopus.com/academike/offences-act-2000/.
[ii] Rakesh Dubbudu, Most number of Cyber-crimes reported in Maharashtra & Uttar Pradesh, FACTLY (Jan. 04, 2019, 02:53PM), https://factly.in/cyber-crimes-in-india-which-state-tops-the-chart/.
[iii] Incognito Forensic Foundation, How to file a cyber-crime complaint in India, INCOGNITO FORENSIC FOUNDATION (Jan. 04, 2019, 03:01PM), https://ifflab.org/how-to-file-a-cyber-crime-complaint-in-india/.
[iv] MyAdvo, What is Cyber-Crime in India and How to file Cyber-Crime Complaints?, MYADVO (Jan. 04, 2019, 04:51PM), https://www.myadvo.in/blog/how-to-file-a-cyber-crime-complaint-with-cyber-cell-in-india/.
[v] Secure India, Cyber Police Stations, SECURE INDIA (Jan. 04, 2019, 03:25PM), http://www.secureindia.in/?page_id=942.
[vi] Sandip Joshi, How to register Cyber Crime complaint with cyber cell of police- Online Complaint Procedure, IPLEADERS (Jan. 04, 2019, 03:36PM), https://blog.ipleaders.in/how-to-register-cyber-crime-complaint-with-cyber-cell-of-police-online-complaint-procedure/.
[vii] Incognito Forensic Foundation, supra iii.
[viii] Indore Police, Cyber Crime Complaint Form, INDORE POLICE (Jan. 04, 2019, 04:16PM), http://www.indorepolice.org/cyber-crime.php.