The rapid penetration of smartphones and online banking and payment systems without increased awareness about their risks seems to have given fraudsters an edge over consumers. Many of them panic to respond to threats to disconnect electric service or freeze bank accounts or are attracted by false promises of rewards. The fact that the voice on the other end is armed with a lot of personal information makes it difficult to doubt the caller. Basically, we have to increase awareness of digital safety through all media channels. A 2021 Microsoft survey of adult internet users suggests that India has had the biggest percentage point increase in people who lost money through a scam since 2018. From 9622 cybercrimes in 2014, they have increased to 52,974 in 2021, which is a 450% increase. And police have succeeded only 33% in charge sheeting cybercrimes. RBI is reportedly planning a fraud Registry using AI and Big Data to monitor dubious transactions and the information therein needs to be shared with Cyber Crime cells of police. Telecom and messaging companies also need to coordinate with them as WhatsApp and SMS are convenient carriers of false messages. Sometimes the app TrueCaller has helped in identifying scam calls. Clearly, there is no single solution.
Eternal vigilance and digital awareness is the need of the day. What do you think? Please share your opinion with us.