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Financial Frauds Dominate Indian Cybercrime Landscape, Account For Over 75% Of Offenses

UPI frauds accounted for 47.25 per cent of the total financial fraudulent activities

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Financial fraud has emerged as a dominant threat in India's cybercrime landscape, constituting over 75 per cent of online offenses reported between January 2020 and June 2023, according to a study by the Future Crime Research Foundation (FCRF).

Within the category of online financial frauds, FCRF highlighted the prevalence of fraudulent activities related to digital financial transactions. Subcategories within this realm included debit/credit card fraud, business email compromise, internet banking-related fraud and notably, the widespread Unified Payments Interface (UPI) fraud, accounting for a substantial 47.25 per cent of the total.

The report also spotlighted the significance of social media-related crimes, contributing to 12 per cent of online offenses during the study period. This category encompassed a wide range of offenses occurring on online platforms and social media. Subcategories included cheating by impersonation, cyberbullying, sexting, email phishing and other offenses. While cyberbullying and impersonation held significant percentages within this category, email phishing and provocative speech for unlawful acts had a relatively lower impact.

Besides financial and social media-related crimes, the FCRF study noted “other notable categories” that accounted for 9 per cent of online offenses. These encompassed various cybercrime categories with smaller but significant percentages, such as online cyber-trafficking, online gambling, ransomware attacks, cryptocurrency crimes and cyberterrorism.

Highlighting the diverse methods employed by cybercriminals to target digital infrastructure, the whitepaper also indicated that 1.57 per cent of online crimes were related to hacking or damage to computer systems. These incidents included unauthorised access, data breaches, email hacking and website defacement or hacking.