Ministry of Home Affairs launches national cyber fraud helpline
Considering the rapidly increasing instances of cyber fraud since the onset of remote working due to the pandemic, the central government has launched a national helpline number (155260) and reporting platform to help curb financial loss due to cyber fraud. The helpline connects cyber fraud victims directly to the corresponding state's police. The service has made its debut in seven states and UTs.
The central government's new national cyber fraud helpline and reporting platform is the brainchild of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) operating under the leadership of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Although a soft launch for the helpline was held on April 1, it was pressed into service on June 17 by MHA's subsidiary, the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center (I4C).
The new helpline and its reporting platform will be actively supported by the Reserve bank of India (RBI), all major public and private sector banks, major online wallet operators, and e-commerce platforms. Noteworthy wallets cooperating with the service include Paytm, PhonePe, and MobiKwik. The government claims that since its soft launch, the helpline has assisted in saving over Rs 1.85 crore.
The idea behind the platform that was developed by the I4C is to integrate law enforcement agencies with banks and other financial intermediaries to curb cyber fraud in India. Livemint reported that when a fraud victim dials the helpline, a police officer uploads the fraudulent transaction's details and the caller's basic personal information to the Citizen Financial Cyber Frauds Reporting and Management System.
A ticket containing the uploaded data is then escalated to the concerned banks, wallets, merchants, etc. The victim receives an acknowledgment via SMS containing the complaint number, with directions on how to submit additional requisite details on the national cybercrime reporting portal (https://cybercrime.gov.in/) within 24 hours. The banks can freeze the defrauded money so fraudsters cannot access it.
If the concerned bank from which the money was debited isn't able to halt the transaction on time and the defrauded money has been transferred to another bank, the ticket is further escalated to the bank that received the money. The process is reportedly repeated until the money is returned to the complainant and saved from getting into the hands of the fraudsters.
For starters, the helpline and reporting platform has been launched in seven states and union territories including Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. A pan-India roll-out of the service is already underway. The central government also claimed that since soft launch, Delhi and Rajasthan prevented Rs. 58 lakh and Rs. 53 lakh respectively, from ending up in fraudsters' pockets.