The Union Home Ministry on Thursday operationalised a centralised helpline number 155260 and a reporting platform for victims of cyber fraud incidents. The helpline will be manned by respective state police and aided by the Citizen Financial Cyber Frauds Reporting and Management System, a centralised integrated system for police, banks, e-wallets and other stake holders.
Detailing the way the system will work, a ministry statement said, “The Police operator notes down the fraud transaction details and basic personal information of the caller and submits them in the form of a ticket on the Citizen Financial Cyber Frauds Reporting and Management System. The Ticket gets escalated to the concerned banks, wallets, merchants and so on, depending on whether they are the victim’s bank or the bank/wallet in which the defrauded money has gone. The concerned bank, which can now see the ticket on its dashboard on the Reporting Portal, checks the details in its internal systems.”
“If the defrauded money is still available, the bank puts it on hold, ie, the fraudster cannot withdraw the money. If the defrauded money has moved out to another bank, the ticket gets escalated to the next bank to which the money has moved out. This process is repeated until the money is saved from reaching into the hands of the fraudsters,” it added.
The ministry further informed that an SMS will also be sent to the victim with an acknowledgement number of the complaint with direction to submit complete details of the fraud on the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal within 24 hours, using the acknowledgement number.
Commander Achal Sharma, whose 78-year-old father was defrauded of Rs 6.5 lakh by a phone fraudster on June 8 told News18 that the banks should do more than just blocking the victims card and account after a fraud case is reported. “We called HDFC immediately after we realised the fraud. All they did was block the cards. They could have done more like tracing where the fund went from my father’s account and taking steps that the money was not utilised further,” he said.
The banks under this new system will now get more technological assistance and power to block defrauded transactions. “The facility empowers both the banks and the police, by leveraging new-age technologies for sharing online fraud related information and taking action in almost real time. The loss of defrauded money in online cheating cases can be stopped by chasing the money trail and stopping its further flow before it is taken out of the digital ecosystem by the fraudster,” the MHA officials said.
So far the cyber fraud helpline and its reporting platform has some major public and private sector banks onboard. These include – State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Union Bank, IndusInd, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis, Yes and Kotak Mahindra Bank. It also has all major wallets and merchants such as PayTM, PhonePe, Mobikwik, Flipkart and Amazon linked to it.
Seven States and Union Territories such as Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh have already begun operations under this centralised system.
The MHA officials further said that roll out in the others States for pan-national coverage is underway to prevent the flow of money siphoned off by fraudsters.
The helpline was soft launched on April 1 this year. Since, its soft launch more than Rs 1.85 crore of defrauded money has been saved, as per data released by the MHA. Delhi and Rajasthan have saved Rs 58 lakh and Rs 53 lakh, respectively.
The helpline 155260 and its reporting platform have been made operational by the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) under the Ministry of Home Affairs, with active support and cooperation from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), all major banks, Payment Banks, wallets and online merchants.
The Citizen Financial Cyber Fraud Reporting and Management System has been developed in house by I4C to integrate Law Enforcement Agencies and Banks and Financial Intermediaries.
“The success of the Helpline and Reporting Platform can be gauged from the fact that on several occasions, the cheated money has been stopped from reaching fraudsters even after it has been moved by the cheats to five different banks to hide the trail,” the officials said.