How To File Cyber Crime Complaint?

Introduction

The advancement of technology and the communication system has made the world a global village. Following these footsteps and the recent steps by the government, India is no exception to it. The increased volume in the online user and social media presence has led to a serious threat to individuals as well as corporates. These threats and vulnerabilities in the online ecosystem have led to offenses which we know as Cyber crime

In the Indian legislation, the term Cyber crime is not defined anywhere and the reason behind it is simple, the term is too broad to give definition. The Indian Penal Code and the Information and Technology Act (even after the 2008 amendment) makes no mention of Cyber crime but on taking a pragmatic and comprehensive approach, criminal activities or offenses that are done using a computer, a network device on the cyber world (World wide web) can be termed as cyber crime.[1]

Mostly all the cities have dedicated cyber cells and the purpose of these cells is to register the Cyber crime complaints and take the necessary steps. A cyber  crime complaint can be filed anywhere in India as it comes under the purview of global jurisdiction so the place of origin does not matter.

In January 2020, Union home minister Amit Shah inaugurated the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) and the national Cybercrime reporting Portal a citizen-centric initiative that will enable citizens to report cyber crimes online.

The information provided in to this portal will be used by specific states and UTs to take action as per law. The I4C initiation is a positive step of the Indian government to tackle the Cybercrime issue. It will create an ecosystem that will eventually help in coordination and effective work between states and union territories. It has seven components – a national cybercrime threat analytics unit, a national cybercrime reporting portal, a national cybercrime training center, a cybercrime ecosystem management unit, national cybercrime research, and innovation center, a national cybercrime forensic laboratory ecosystem and platform for the joint cybercrime investigation team.

The author in this article has laid down a detailed process on how to file Cyber  crime complaint.

Increasing magnitude of Cyber Crime

India has the second-largest internet-using population in the world with around 560 million internet users. This fact combined with the recent step of demonetization increased the online purchasing and digital footprint of India, it is no wonder that the rate of cybercrime is increasing at a substantial pace.

The National cybercrime reporting portal has reported over 33,152 complaints last year. And India comes 3rd in the FBI report of – Top 20 cybercrime victim countries.

With this threat in mind, it is better not to wait for something to happen and to read the intricacies as to how to file cyber crime complaint.

The procedure of filling a cyber crime complaint

1. Online Method

  1. Go to https://www.cybercrime.gov.in
  2. From here the site is bifurcated into two parts Report Women/Child relate crime and other cyber Crime. In the case of 1st category, there is an option of ‘anonymous complaint’ as well as ‘report and track’.

Women/Child-related crime.

  1. The user need to log in or register himself to the portal
  2. Complaint reporting Screen
  3. Incidental Details
  4. Category of complaint 1. Child Pornography (CP) – Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), 2. Rape/ Gang Rape (RGR) – Sexually Abusive Content, and 3. Sexually Explicit Content
  5. Other basic details (Time, place, state, district of occurrence)
  6. Upload Evidence
  7. Suspects Details
  8. Complainant details (Only in report and track)
  9. Review and Submit.

Other Cyber Crime

The same procedure is followed but the categories include

  1. Online and Social Media Related Crime
  2. Online Financial Fraud
  3. Ransomware
  4. Hacking
  5. Cryptocurrency-Related Crime
  6. Online Trafficking
  7. Online Gambling
  8. Any Other Cyber Crime

If an anonymous option is not chosen in the women/child crime then all the complained can be tracked through the portal.

2. Offline Method

Step 1 – The first step is to file Cyber crime complaint with a cyber cell India. One can call the cyber helpline or one can email the complaint to them. A written complaint has to be filled with the respective cyber crime cell in which the person resides. As cybercrime comes under the purview of global jurisdiction it can be filled at any cyber crime cell.

Step 2 – The name and address for mail purpose must be included in the complainant which is to be addressed to the head of the department.

Step 3 – Certain documents are required as per the category of crime. It varies from crime to crime and there is specific requisite in each one. This will be dealt with in the next section of the article.

If the cyber cell is not available one can also file an FIR in the police station. Other options will also include FIR under the provisions of the Indian penal code as most of the crimes are specifically mentioned in the code. The jurisdiction of the police station will never be a problem as a zero FIR can always be filled.

Documents required for some specific cyber crime

Though it is not possible to mention the evidence required for all categories, some important categories are covered. For more details, one can visit here.

Report Financial Fraud

  1. Bank statement from the concerned bank.
  2. Make a copy of SMSs received related to the alleged transactions.
  3. Copy of your ID proof and address proof as shown in the bank records

Social Media Complaint

  1. Screenshot of the profile.
  2. PDF of messages received
  3. URL to the ID or profile.

Data Theft Complaint

  1. It is required that a copy of the data stolen has to be filed.
  2. The certificate showing copyright over the allegedly stolen data, i.e, copyright certificate of the stolen data.
  3. Details of the employee/ employees who are suspected.

Women/Child related crime

From any medium like- email, SMS, messaging platform, and social media platform one needs to keep the following two things as evidence generally.

  1. Screenshot or pdf format of the content received.
  2. The details of the sender in the form of URL, profile, senders details.

Conclusion

With the evolution of technology and the increased internet penetration in pan India, there is a need to take several protective measures so that the need for filling a cyber-complaint never arises. This can be done by strong passwords, use of a virtual private network, and incognito mode at a public place, install a security patch, and finally the use of Anti-virus. Even after these measures, cybercrime is committed; one should immediately report the same with the help of the above-mentioned procedure.

There are specific crimes under the Indian penal code with a prison sentence and fine which can be applied to the criminals. We can put our trust in the criminal justice system and police of the country, but the main problem arises when a lot of these crimes are not reported and even before one attack is completed the offender starts another without any fear of action.

[1]Moore, R. (2005) “Cybercrime: Investigating High-Technology Computer Crime,” Cleveland, Mississippi: Anderson Publishing.

This article has been written by Arpit Jhanwar, a second-year student at Symbiosis Law School Pune.

Also Read – Organised Crime & Criminal Setup of Organised Criminals

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