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Cyber Crime Complaint

As we all know, the Indian Economy is moving towards becoming a digital economy at a fast pace. Moreover, the usage of the internet is also increasing at a mounting rate as nowadays people prefer doing things online. As a result, the risk of Cyber Crime is also on the rise.  Hence, the significance of the Cyber Crime Complaint is also increased in India. Further, the Information Technology Act, 2008, acts as a governing force for the offense related to Cyber Crime.

Nowadays, cybercriminals are coming up with new tricks each day to cheat and deceive people and make quick money. As per a report, India ranks fourth out of the ten most targeted countries by the cyber attackers. Moreover, every month nearly 12,456 Cyber Crime cases are registered in India. Sadly, not everyone knows about the procedure or the steps they need to follow if they fall victim to Cyber Crime. So, today we will discuss in detail how to file a Cyber Crime Complaint in India.

What is Cyber Crime?

In simple terms, the word Cyber Crime means the wrongful acts or crimes done by making use of technology. Further, there is no such specific definition of Cyber Crime. Still, whenever any criminal or illegal activity happens using a computer as a primary mode of operation, it is known as the white-collar crime.

Further, the Cyber Cell departments are now reachable in almost every state and are ready to ready to deal with the Cyber Crime Complaints in India.

Furthermore, the numbers of reports concerning Cyber Crime Complaints, both online or offline, have been rising massively in India. Hence, both the cyber cell departments and the cyber police have now acknowledged various types of cyber-crimes.

What are the Types of Cyber Crimes Prevalent in India?

As per the Indian Cyber Law, many types of cybercrimes have now been identified. Out of which, the following listed are the predominant cybercrimes that one often gets to hear and deal with:

  • Hacking – Hacking is considered as one of the most common types of cyber-crimes prevailing in India. In simple terms, Hacking means unauthorized access to someone’s computer without having prior approval of the rightful person.
    This offense is committed when a person virtually breaks into someone else’s computer to have access to his personal and sensitive information like email accounts, banking details, etc. Thus, everything engaged with breaking into someone’s computer will be considered as the offense of Hacking. Hence, with everything turning digital, the risk of hacking also increases.
  • Cyber Stalking - After the offense of hacking, the second-most reported offense in India is Cyber-Stalking. This offense generally relates to the online harassment done over the Internet, and usually, women are the victim of such an offense. Further, this offense is similar to that of offline stalking but done on an online platform.
    Further, Cyber Stalking involves the continuous use of the internet, social networks, instant messaging, e-mail, or related digital devices to threaten, irritate, badger, or annoy people. Furthermore, before the amendment of February 2013, there was no such specific law against it. However, it now falls under the ambit of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013.
  • Online Theft – Online theft means when a criminal extorts or steals victim’s money after accessing his or her sensitive data such as the personal bank account, debit card, credit card, etc., by using Phishing Sites.
  • Cyber Bullying – Cyber Bullying is the bullying executed by way of digital devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and laptops leading to humiliation or disgrace. This offense includes posting, sharing or sending negative, incorrect, nasty or offensive information about the character of another individual for causing humiliation. This is also known as the Character Assassination.
    Hence, Cyber Bullying means usage of social mediums, internet, or mobiles for defaming, harassing, or intimidating a person.
  • Cyber Terrorism - When a person is being threatened or intimidated for extortion or anything else, then it will be considered as the crime of Cyber Terrorism.
  • Child Soliciting and Abuse -When a child is being solicited or abused over the internet for the reason of making Child Pornography. Further, this offense also involves the use of electronic devices for creating, distributing, or accessing obscene nature material and have a tendency to corrupt young minds.
  • Cracking - Crack usually refers to the mode of achieving software cracking. Further, the term Cracking refers to the process of digitally removing the copyright protectioncode, which prevents pirated or copied software from working on the computers which do not have the authorization from the software vendor. Further, the person involved in such type of activities is different and distinct from a Hacker and hence, is known as a Cracker. Therefore, the Cracker uses his knowledge and skills not only to break the cyber law but also to tampers with the computer.
  • Spoofing - Spoofing encompasses misrepresentation of the source of any data or information. While an SMS or Email is generated from one source, however, it shows that the same has been generated from some other source. Further, this is one of the common ways used by cybercriminals to acquire a user’s personal information like bank details, etc.
  • Phishing - Phishing involves sending of spam emails to the users while claiming to be a recognized enterprise to obtain his or her personal information.
  • Cyber Squatting – Cyber Squatting takes place when two or more individuals claim the same domain name. Further, the term squatting means unlawfully occupying a deserted place. Moreover, in this offense, the hacker claims that instead of the actual owner, he was the first one to use the concerned domain name.
  • Cyber Vandalism - It involves the destruction of data available on any electronic medium throughout the period when the network service was not available.
  • Cyber Trafficking – Cyber Trafficking involves dealing in illegal trade activities such as slaves, human trafficking.
  • Cyber Warfare - Cyberwarfare means an Internet-based war conflict in which the cyber-crime is politically motivated. Further, this offense includes disabling of official websites and networks, disruption in essential services such as the Internet connection, etc.

How to File a Cyber Crime Complaint in India?

The following listed are the steps involved in the procedure of Filing a Cyber Crime Complaint in India:

  • One can file a Cyber Crime complaint by both online and offline mode, anytime either to the Crime Investigation Department or Cyber Police.
  • The first and foremost step in the offline mode is to lodge a complaint against the crime.
  • The informant is then required to file a written complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell of any jurisdiction. Further, in the written complaint, he or she is required to provide his or her name, contact details, and the address for mailing.
  • Lastly, one needs to address the said written complaint to the Head of the cybercrime cell of the respective city where he or she is filing the Cyber Crime Complaint.

Further, according to the Information Technology Act, a cybercrime comes under the ambit of global jurisdiction. The term global jurisdiction means that a Cyber Crime Complaint can easily be registered with any of the Cyber Cells in India. The term any place means the place where the crime was firstly committed or the place where the said victim is currently residing or staying.

How to Lodge an FIR for a Cyber Crime?

If in case an individual does not have access to any of the available cyber cells in India, then he or she can file an FIR (First Information Report) at the local police station.

Further, if the case the Cyber complaint is not accepted there, then the said informant can either approach the Commissioner or to the Judicial Magistrate.

Furthermore, certain cybercrime offenses come under the ambit of the Indian Penal Code. Hence, an individual can register an FIR concerning cybercrime at the nearest local police station. Moreover, it is mandatory for the police officer under section 154 of CrPC, to record the information given regarding an offense, regardless of the jurisdiction in which the said crime was committed.

How to file a Cyber Crime Complaint online?

The following listed are the steps involved in the filing of Cyber Crime Complaint:

  • Step 1 – Visit the official website https://cyber crime.gov.in/Accept.aspx
  • Step 2 - Now, in the second step, click on the option saying “Report Other Cyber Crimes” on the menu.
  • Step 3 – Click on the option saying “File a Complaint.”
  • Step 4 – Now, the informant or the complainant is required to carefully read all the conditions prescribed and then accept them.
  • Step 5 – The informant is then required to register his or her mobile number along with which he or she is required to fill his or her name and state.
  • Step 6 – Now, fill in all the required and relevant details regarding the offense committed.

Note – It shall be pertinent to take into consideration that one can report or file an offense on an anonymous basis also.

Further, the online platform made by the Indian Government caters to complaints regarding the Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), Child Pornography (CP), Sexually Explicit Content such as the Rape or Gang Rape (CP/RGR), social media crimes, online cyber trafficking, online financial frauds, hacking, ransomware, cryptocurrency crimes.

What is the Format of filing a Cyber Crime Complaint?

As such, there is no separate prescribed format for filing a Cyber Crime Complaint. An informant or the complainant is just required to write a letter disclosing all the details about the said crime and then file the same either to the nearest police station or cyber cell. Further, the informant or the complainant is required to provide his or her name, mailing address, and the telephone number together with an application letter addressing the Head of the cybercrime Investigation Cell and the related documents as attachment. 

What should an Informant do if the Cyber Cell refuses to accept his Complaint?

If in case the Cyber Cell Department refuses to file or accept the Cyber Crime Complaint filed by the informant, then he or she can fill a direct representation to the nearest Judicial Magistrate describing the fact that his or her complaint has not been accepted under any or certain circumstances.

What are the Documents Needed for filing a Cyber Crime complaint?

The following listed are the documents required while filing a Cyber Crime Complaint -

For an E-mail Based Complaint:

  • A written complaint describing in detail about the incidence and offense,
  • A Copy of the alleged e-mail obtained from the original receiver. However, a copy of a forwarded e-mail must be avoided.
  • Full Header of the said E-mail.
  • Copy of the alleged E-mail and header must be in both hard and soft forms (in CD-R only).

For a Social Media Based Complaint:

  • A copy of the screenshot of the alleged profile along with the content or a screenshot of the alleged content’s URL,
  • Both the Hard and Soft copies of the said content (make sure that the content in soft copy is provided in a CD-R form).

For a Mobile Application-Based Complaint:

  • A screenshot of the alleged application,
  • The location from where the application was downloaded,
  • The copy of the victim’s bank statements if in case any transactions were made before or during the incident,
  • Soft copies of all the documents mentioned above.

For a Business Email Based Complaint:

  • A written complaint about the offense committed,
  • Originating name (as mentioned in the E-mail or offender) and location,
  • Originating Bank’s name together with the account number (as per the E-mail),
  • Recipient’s name (as mentioned in the bank records), bank location along with bank account number,
  • Date and the amount of transaction as done,
  • SWIFT number,
  • Additional Information (if in case available) – including “FAV” – In Favor of; “FFC”- For Further Credit.

For a Data Theft Complaint:

  • A copy regarding the Stolen Data along with its brief,
  • The Certificate of Copyright of the allegedly stolen data,
  • Details of the Suspected Employee/(s),
  • The following listed documents are needed in relation to the suspected employee:
  • Letter of Appointment,
  • List of all the duties and gadgets assigned,
  • Non-disclosure Agreement,
  • List of all the clients which the suspect handles,
  • The proof regarding the Copyright Breach,
  • Details of the devices used by the accused or suspect during his or her tenure of service (only if in case available) with the company.

For a Ransomware or Malware Complaint:

  • E-mail Id or the phone number (or any other details) or any other modes of communication by way of which ransom has been demanded,
  • If in case Malware was sent as an attachment of the e-mail, then the screenshots of the said mail along with the full header of the first receiver be provided.

For an Internet Banking/Lottery Scam/Online Transactions/Fake Call Related Complaint:

  • Bank statement of the related bank for the period of last six months,
  • A copy of the SMS received concerning to the suspected transactions,
  • A copy of the victim’s ID and address proof as per the said bank record.

For a Net Banking/ATM Complaints:

  • A print out of all the alleged E-mails along with their complete header as received by the original recipient (However, copy of forwarded E-mails must be avoided),
  • Victim’s bank statement,
  • Details of all the suspected transactions,
  • Soft copies of all the documents mentioned above.

For a Bitcoin Based Complaints:

  • A written brief regarding the offense committed,
  • The address of the bitcoin,
  • The total amount of bitcoin in question,
  • The address from whom to whom the purchase or sale of the bitcoins has been made.

What is the Punishment prescribed for a Cyber Crime in India?

In India, the punishment prescribed for a Cyber Crime varies in every case, and it depends upon the facts of each type of cybercrime committed and the gravity of the cybercrime together with the damage caused because of it. Thus, it is always advised to consult an experienced Cyber Lawyer of the city in which the informant or the complainant is residing to file a Cyber Crime Complaint and understand all the legal formalities and the documents needed as per the Cyber Laws in India

What are the Punishments Prescribed under the Information Technology Act?

The following listed are some of the punishments provided under the Information Technology Act:

Section

Offense

Punishment

Section 65

Tampering with computer Source Code

Imprisonment up to three years or fine up to Rs. 2 Lakhs

Section 66

Offences related to Computer

Imprisonment up to three years or fine up to Rs. 5 Lakhs

Section 66-A

Sending offensive messages by way of communication service, etc

Imprisonment up to three years and fine

Section 66-B

Dishonestly receiving stolen computer device or computer resource

Imprisonment up to three years or fine up to Rs. 1 Lakh

Section 66-C

Identity Theft

Imprisonment of up to three years of either description or fine up to Rs. 1 Lakh

Section 66-D

Cheating by Personation by using any computer resource

Imprisonment of up to three years of either description or fine up to Rs. 1 Lakh

Section 66-E

Violation of Privacy

Imprisonment up to three years or fine up to Rs. 2 Lakhs

Section 66-F

Cyber Terrorism

Imprisonment extend to the Imprisonment for Life

Section 67

Publishing or transmitting obscene material in the electronic form

On first Conviction, imprisonment up to three years or fine up to Rs 5 Lakhs. On Subsequent Conviction, imprisonment up to five years or fine up to Rs 10 Lakhs

Section 67-A

Publishing or transmitting of material containing the sexually explicit act in the electronic form

On first Conviction, imprisonment up to five years or fine up to Rs 10 Lakhs. On Subsequent Conviction, imprisonment up to seven years or fine up to Rs 10 Lakhs

Section 67-B

Publishing or transmitting of material depicting the sexually explicit act in the electronic form

On first Conviction, imprisonment up to five years or fine up to Rs 10 Lakhs. On Subsequent Conviction of either description, imprisonment up to seven years or fine up to Rs 10 Lakhs

Section 68

Failure to comply with the directions issued by the Controller

Imprisonment up to two years or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh

Section 69

Failure to assist the agency in regard to interception or monitoring or decryption of any information by way of any computer resource

Imprisonment up to seven years and fine

Section 69-A

Failure of the intermediary to abide by the direction issued for the blocking for public access of any information by way of any computer resource

Imprisonment up to seven years and fine

Section 69-B

Intermediary who intentionally or knowingly contravenes the provisions of sub-section (2) in regard to monitor and collect traffic data or information through any computer resource for cybersecurity

Imprisonment up to three years and fine

Section 70

Any person who secures access or attempts to secure access to the protected system in contravention of a provision of Sec. 70

Imprisonment of either description up to ten years and fine

Section 71

Misrepresentation to the Controller to the Certifying Authority

Imprisonment up to two years and fine up to Rs 1 Lakh

Section 72

Breach of Confidentiality and privacy

Imprisonment up to two years and fine up to Rs 1 Lakh

Section72-A

Disclosure of Information in the breach of lawful contract

Imprisonment up to three years or fine up to Rs 5 Lakhs

Section 73

Publishing false electronic Signature Certificate in certain particulars

Imprisonment up to two years or fine up to Rs 1 Lakh

Section 74

Publication made for a fraudulent purpose

Imprisonment up to two years or fine up to Rs 1 Lakh

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. Where can an Individual report Cyber Crime in India?

    An Individual can report Cyber Crime by either of the following listed –
    a) Filing of complaint in nearby Cyber Cell
    b) Lodging an FIR (First Information Report) in a Police Station
    c) Filing a Cyber Complaint at https://cybercrime.gov.in/Accept.aspx

  • 2. How do an Individual report Cyber Crime Online?

    An Individual can report a Cyber Crime by visiting the online portal https://cybercrime.gov.in/Accept.aspx, introduced by the Government of India.

  • 3. What is the meaning of the term Cyber Protection?

    The term Cyber Protection can be defined as a practice of defending servers, computers, mobile devices, networks, data, and electronic systems against such Malicious Attacks.

  • 4. What is a Cyber Safety?

    The practice of safe and responsible use of the Information Communication Technology can be known as Cyber Safety.

  • 5. What are the Types of Cyber Crime?

    The following listed are the types of Cyber Crime –
    a) Hacking
    b) Cyber Stalking
    c) Online Theft
    d) Cyber Bullying
    e) Cyber Terrorism
    f) Child Soliciting and Abuse

  • 6. What is a CSAM?

    CSAM is the acronym form for Child Sexually Abusive Material. It refers to the material comprising of sexual images in any type of a child who is either abused or sexually exploited. Further, according to section 67 (B) of the Information and Technology Act, publishing or transmitting of material showing children in sexually explicit act, etc. in an electronic form is a punishable offense.

  • 7. What can all be considered as a piece of evidence while filing a Complaint of Cyber Crime?

    The following listed are the things that can be considered as a piece of Evidence while filing a Complaint of Cyber Crime –
    a) Credit card Receipt
    b) Bank Statement
    c) Envelope (if received a letter or an item by way of mail or courier)
    d) Brochure or Pamphlet
    e) Receipt of Online Money Transfer
    f) Copy of Email
    g) URL of the webpage
    h) Chat Transcripts
    i) Screenshot of the Suspect Mobile Number
    j) Videos
    k) Images
    l) Any other kind of document

  • 8. Can an individual check the status of his Cyber Complaint?

    Yes, the individual will be able to check the status of his or her complaint only if the complaint has been reported by using the option of “Report and Track” or “Report Other Cybercrime” section available on the website. Further, the complainant will receive an acknowledgment number by which he or she can track the progress of the complaint just by logging on to the portal and clicking on the option “check status.”

  • 9. Can an individual report a Cyber Complaint without uploading any information?

    One can report a Cyber Complaint without uploading any information. However, it is always recommended that a complainant should provide as much information about the complaint as possible as it helps the police authorities to work on the complaint and to take appropriate and prompt action.

  • 10. What is the objective of the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal?

    This portal is an initiative of the Indian Government to facilitate victims or complainants to report online Cyber Crime Complaints. Further, this portal accommodates to complaints relating to Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), online Child Pornography (CP) or Sexually Explicit content such as the Rape or Gang Rape (CP/RGR) content and other Cyber Crime such as the
    a) Hacking,
    b) Mobile Crimes,
    c) Online Financial Frauds,
    d) Online Cyber Trafficking,
    e) Online and Social Media Crimes,
    f) Ransomware, and
    g) Cryptocurrency Crimes.
    The portal also provides the facility of reporting an Anonymous Complaint regarding the Online Child Pornography (CP) or Sexually Explicit Content such as the Rape or Gang Rape (RGR) content.

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