A team of 10 persons at the Mumbai police control room, located on the fifth floor of the Mumbai Police headquarters, has recovered more than Rs 32 lakh lost by victims of cyber crimes in the past four months.
The 1930 helpline that was launched across the country became activated in the city from May 17 this year. Since then, victims of various cyber frauds call the number and officials feed the data on the cybercrime.gov portal, which helps freeze the bank accounts into which money from fraudulent transactions is transferred. The 1930 helpline, which is functional from 9 am to 6 pm, receives as many as 20 to 30 operational calls daily from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
Police Sub-inspector Rupali Kulthe, who is one of the two officers part of the team handling the helpline, told The Indian Express, “It is an emergency helpline so usually we give priority to people who have lost money in the past 24 hours as there is a high probability that their money can be saved.”
Usually most of these calls last 10-15 minutes as the police officer on duty has to take down all the details, including the transaction ID of the fraudulent
transaction, from the caller. These details are then fed into the cybercrime.gov.in portal that is linked to the 1930 number. Complainants can directly log on to this portal and submit details about the fraud as well instead of calling on the helpline, an official added.
“The portal then tracks the money and within two-three hours gives us the entire money flow. So, if the cyber fraudster has moved the money across multiple bank accounts and wallets, we get the entire list including where the money is now so that it can be blocked. Then the procedure to return it to the victim has to begin,” Kulthe said.
She said that in the three-month period from May 17 – when the helpline was launched in the city with a push from DCP (cyber) Hemkant Rajput – the team has managed to save over Rs 32 lakh and taken nearly 9,000 calls.
“Hoardings advertising the 1930 helpline are placed at the station house of the police stations so that victims can call us. Several callers dial us from the police stations. If the person calls us within hours of losing money, there is a high chance we can save their money,” the official said.
The 1930 helpline was launched by the Union government but not all states have set it up as yet. An official said a few states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and
Telangana have the set up to operationalise the line.
But there are several issues in the functioning of the helpline in Maharashtra, said officials. One is the limited time period when the helpline is operational – 9 am to 6 pm. But an officer said they hoping to turn it soon into a 24-hour helpline. Another issue is the lack of clarity on documents required by banks to return the money that has been blocked to the victims.
Some banks ask for a letter from the police while others insist that the victim get an FIR registered. We want to standardise the entire issue and we are negotiating with bank officials so that the saved money can be transferred to the victim on verification at the earliest,” an official added.