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Cyber crime shock to cops

Patna, Jan. 18: Youths and police in the state capital are worried about the frequent hacking of their profiles on various social networking sites.

Sources said a spurt in the hacking of profiles on social networking sites in the state capital has made the police sit up and take notice. The incidents have taken a rather sinister turn with frequent cases of cyber fraud, especially related to Internet banking and automatic teller machine (ATM) transactions.

A senior police officer told The Telegraph: “Earlier, we used to get complaints from youngsters about their Facebook or Orkut profiles being hacked or tampered with. These complaints are still common. But more technical cases like tampering of ATM cards or frauds in Internet banking have also increased.”

He added: “Earlier we used to get around two or three cases every year. The number has increased now. Apart from Internet banking frauds, ATM account tampering has also increased.”

The officer refused to divulge details of any particular case but a source said the Patna police cyber crime investigation unit personnel have their hands full. At present, they are dealing with more than five cases of Internet banking or ATM fraud. The CID cyber crime cell is also investigating nine to 10 cases of ATM fraud in the state.

On January 15, a girl lodged an FIR at the Bahadurpur police station claiming that her Facebook account had been hacked and her cellphone number posted online. In her complaint, she also mentioned that she has been receiving calls from unknown people after that. Three persons were arrested on January 7 for allegedly conning four people and withdrawing money from their accounts by tampering with the State Bank of India ATM counter at Sichai Bhavan on Bailey Road.

Last year, the cops had dealt with 12 cyber crime cases. On July 24, a person was duped of Rs 7,000 after he visited a fake website of Patna High Court and applied for a job offer. The website was taken off the Net but the police are yet to make any arrest.

Not that the cops have not made any breakthroughs. On October 27, a Class XI student of a city school was arrested for hacking the Orkut profile of a girl and posting her pictures and phone number.

But that has not checked the spurt in the rise of cyber crimes. A police officer said: “We contact the service provider or website and ask for the Internet protocol address from which the crime has been committed. It is a time consuming process and the incidents are on the rise.”

Prevention is the best cure, claim experts. Ethical hacker Deepak Kumar, who works with the police, told The Telegraph: “Cyber crimes are of different kinds. People need to follow some safety measures so that they don’t fall prey to criminals.”