Unsuspecting victims in Karnataka lost Rs 465 crore to online fraudsters in just 1 year

News Network
April 1, 2024

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Cybercriminals and hackers siphoned off at least a whopping Rs 465 crore from people across Karnataka in 2023 alone, i.e., an average of Rs 1.27 crore per day, according to the latest data from the Criminal Investigation Department. 

Investigators foresee a “colossal” rise in new-age cybercrimes in the current year as fraudsters upgrade their game and adopt new ways to cheat.

The total money lost to cybercrimes in 2023 rose by a staggering 151% year-on-year and by 450% compared to 2021.

Cybercrooks pocketed Rs 185 crore in 2022 and Rs 84 crore in 2021. 

Karnataka last year reported 21,868 cybercrime cases. Bengaluru alone reported 17,623 of them. 

The most common money-spinning crimes were phishing, FedEx scams, investment and task completion frauds, according to MA Saleem, Director General of Police, CID, Special Units and Economic Offences. 

Police officers privy to cybercrime investigations last year say OTP and phishing frauds dominated the first few months of 2023 but as the year wound down, FedEx, investment and task completion frauds, and Aadhaar-enabled payment scams took hold. At the same time,  many victims fell prey to sextortion, loan app harassment and counterfeit websites.

While Bengaluru reported a lion’s share of cybercrimes, senior police officers believe the extent of cybercrimes in the state’s small towns and villages is grossly under-reported because many victims do not file complaints.

For example, Hassan reported just 100-150 cybercrimes and Tumakuru 250-300. 

Ashok KV, Superintendent of Police, Tumakuru, says most victims in rural areas are either unaware that they can file complaints in such cases or simply don’t realise the fraud. 

“In some cases, they lose small amounts of money and just let it go,” Ashok said, adding that the police are holding awareness programmes to educate people about the different types of cybercrimes. 

Hassan SP, Mohammed Sujeetha MS, notes that in Hassan, most cases are filed at town police stations, mostly by people having connections in Bengaluru. Two months ago, Hassan police launched an initiative called ‘Tereda Mane’ to bring police and people together and raise awareness about crimes. “We need to reach every last person but that’s a long way to go,” she said.

Another senior officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said young adults from rural areas hesitate to inform their elders and approach the police despite falling prey to cyber scams, especially if it’s of a sexual nature. 

Bengaluru North Deputy Commissioner of Police Saidulu Adavath, under whose watch police cracked the first-ever FedEx scam, pointed to the large number of mule accounts being operated from rural areas in Karnataka.

“We arrested four people in Davangere who had lent their identity documents for creating mule accounts that were eventually used to carry out the scams. They were lured with government schemes. People in rural areas are prone to creating mule accounts. It’s a trend,” he said.

Speaking at a recent conclave on cybercrimes, C Vamsi Krishna, DIGP, CID, noted that cybercriminals are increasingly using Malware as a Service (MaaS). He also believes AI can be used to carry out cybercrimes through malware. 

Another senior officer from the CID said fake websites had mushroomed all over the internet to carry out cybercrimes. “These websites have typos in their name but look legit. Cyber fraudsters use them to siphon off money from people booking travel tickets,” the officer said.

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News Network
April 3,2024

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Mangaluru, Apr 3: Padmaraj R, the Congress candidate for Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency, today filed his nomination papers for the upcoming polls with the returning officer and deputy commissioner Mullai Muhilan at latter’s office in Mangaluru. 

He was flanked by DK district in-charge minister Dinesh Gundu Rao, MLC B K Hariprasad, district Congress president and MLC Harish Kumar and Puttur MLA Ashok Kumar Rai among others.

Prior to this, the young Billava leader led a procession from Kudroli Gokarnatheshwara temple to the DC office. The procession, which was flagged off by veteran Congress leader B Janardhana Poojary, passed through Car street, GHS road, Clock tower, and concluded at the A B Setty Circle.

Padmaraj is contesting against BJP’s Capt Brijesh Chowta in the Lok Sabha election scheduled for April 26 in Dakshina Kannada.

Addressing the people, Padmaraj vowed to end BJP’s communal and divisive politics in Dakshina Kannada. “I am committed to eradicate divisive politics from the district and fostering unity among people of all religious backgrounds,” he said. 

"Today I witness hope and expectations in the eyes of people gathered here. This proves that the message of the Congress party has reached the people,” he said adding that the advantages of having the Congress party in power are evident. 

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News Network
April 16,2024

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New Delhi:  Twenty-nine Maoists, including a senior rebel leader - Shankar Rao, who had a bounty of ₹ 25 lakh on his head - were killed by security forces during an encounter in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district on Tuesday afternoon. A huge quantity of weapons, including Ak-47 and INSAS rifles, were recovered. 

Three security personnel were injured in the gunfight, which took place in forests near the village of Binagunda after a joint team of District Reserve Guard and Border Security Force were attacked.

Two of the three injured are from the BSF. Their condition is stable but the third - from the DRG - is in critical care. All three received treatment at a local hospital and are to be shifted to a larger facility.

Sources said the fighting began at around 2 PM, when a joint DRG-BSF team was conducting an anti-Maoist operation. The DRG was set up in in 2008 to combat Maoist activities in the state, and the Border Security Force has been deployed extensively in the area to for counter-insurgency ops.

There was another encounter in the district last month, in which two people - a Maoist and a cop - were killed, and security forces recovered a gun, some explosives, and other incriminating materials.

Personnel from the DRG and Bastar Fighters, both units of the state police force, with the Border Security Force, were involved in that operation, officials told news agency PTI. The patrolling team was cordoning off a forested area when fired on indiscriminately, leading to the gun battle.

In November last year, while the state was voting in the first phase of an Assembly election, a gunfight broke out between security forces and Maoist rebels in the same district.

An Ak-47 rifle was recovered from the encounter site.

On the same day, while polling was taking place, Maoists fired at DRG personnel deployed near a polling station in Banda in Dantewada district.

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News Network
April 13,2024

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Mysuru, Apr 13: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be visiting Mysuru on Sunday, is welcome in the state.

"Let him come and go. He is the PM. But he should tell people about what he has done to the people of Karnataka. Let him answer about the injustice done by the Union Government towards the state in terms of giving tax share, not releasing drought relief funds yet and also about the unemployment issue," he said.

The Chief Minister was speaking to media people near his residence at Sharadadevi Nagar in Mysuru on Saturday.

Reacting to a question on BJP's slogan, 'Teesri Baar Modi Sarkar, Ab Ki Baar Char Sau Paar' (Modi government for the third time with over 400 seats), CM Siddaramaiah said, "This slogan is only a strategy to divert the minds of people. Because, according to me, the NDA will not get an absolute majority/simple majority this time in the Parliament elections."

"I.N.D.I.A. bloc and the parties which are against BJP will get a majority in the Lok Sabha polls," he said.

Responding to the statement of BJP leaders that 'even if B R Ambedkar comes, the Indian Constitution cannot be changed', Siddaramaiah said, "BJP is always against the Indian Constitution. Savarkar and the second Chief of RSS M S Golwalkar both opposed the Indian Constitution written by Baba Saheb B R Ambedkar on January 26, 1950."

"When BJP MP Ananth Kumar Hegde spoke about changing the Indian Constitution twice, why wasn't he punished? Why wasn't he suspended from the party? Why didn't they drop him from the cabinet?"

"Hegde was not given a ticket for the LS polls, as he had not done any work in the five years and was only active for the last three-four months of his term. The reason Hegde was not given a ticket was because BJP had realised that he would lose the elections, and not because of his statement related to the Constitution" the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, regarding the nabbing of the two key suspects in the Rameshwaram Cafe blast case in Bengaluru, Siddaramaiah said, "I thank the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and also the Karnataka police for tracing and arresting the accused in the case, in Kolkata."

"They will be brought to Bengaluru and further information related to the case will be known after their interrogation," he said.

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