In the current day, people cannot live without the internet because everything from online exchange to online processing is done on the internet. Whether it is business, shopping, education, or banking transactions everything is on cyberspace. Sometimes, people use it for wrongful purposes and commit crimes like hacking, identity theft, cyberstalking, etc. Cybercrimes pose a serious threat to nations, organizations, and individuals across the globe. Cybercrime has widespread across many parts of the world and millions of people are victims of it. With the increase in cybercrime, it is clear that there is a need for a common understanding of such crime to manage it adequately. So if anyone is a victim of cybercrimes, he can file a complaint. This paper highlights cybercrime and the procedure to file a cyber complaint in India.
Today, the usage of the internet is almost prevalent in every industry. The rapid increase in the operation of the internet has given rise to new opportunities in every field. However, it has led to the problem of cybercrime. Cybercrime is a crime committed through the internet. The most serious issue of the internet is the mysterious character of the user and the recognition of the user’s physical presence is always in question. Some people intentionally trying to steal or extract the information illegally for their personal use or financial achievement and many more. Even today many government sites are being hacked and are still unsafe today. The most commonly reported cases of cyber crimes include cyberstalking, pornography, cyber defamation, defamatory or annoying messages, etc. Therefore it is important to understand how to file a cybercrime complaint in India.
Any crime which is committed by using a computer or the internet is cybercrime. Under Indian Laws, cybercrime has not been defined including the Information Technology Act. Cybercrime can be defined as any illegal act fostered or facilitated by a computer, whether the computer is an object of a crime, an instrument used to commit a crime, or a repository of evidence related to a crime.
Cybercrime involves the usage of any network, network device, or computer to commit criminal activity. For committing a cybercrime, the main element is the computer which can be used either as a tool or target or both.
Types of Cyber Crime
Many kinds of cyber crimes have been identified in India. Few common cybercrimes are listed below:
Hacking: It is one of the common cyber crimes in India. Any person who breaks into somebody else’s computer system and steals some personal or sensitive information from the system without any permission is hacking. For example banking details, email accounts, etc.
Cyber Stalking: After hacking, the majority of cybercrime complaints are related to cyberstalking. It is online stalking or harassment, especially targeting women by sending obscene messages.
Identity Theft: This happens when financial or personal information is stolen using a computer. This is done simply by hacking the account and stealing some personal information of others. For example: accessing personal or sensitive information like a bank account, credit card, debit card, etc over the internet.
Cyber Bullying: If someone uses the internet, mobiles, or social networks for harassing, defaming, or intimidating a person, then it is called cyberbullying. For example: sending vulgar or junk messages.
Cyber Terrorism: Any person who threatens somebody for extortion or anything else then it is the crime of cyber terrorism.
Child Pornography: It is a form of child sexual exploitation. It is a criminal offense and it involves a child in pornography.
Denial of service attack: This attack makes the website unavailable for regular users by overloading a website or network with requests.
Procedure to file a cyber complaint
Register a written complaint: For filing a cybercrime complaint, the first step is to register a written complaint with the cybercrime cell of the city we’re currently in. According to the IT Act, cybercrime has global jurisdiction. Hence, a cybercrime complaint can be registered with any of the cyber cells in India regardless of the place where it was originally committed.
Details to be given: While filing, the following details are to be provided: name, contact details and address for mailing along with the written complaint addressing the Head of the Cyber Crime Cell when filing a complaint.
Attach Documents: To register a complaint, one needs to provide certain documents. Hence, attach the supporting documents related to the case. A legal counsel can be approached in the case of online harassment. He would help in announcing the issue in a superior and effective manner, because of the higher technicalities involved.
Register FIR: In some cases, the circumstances arise where one may not be able to find the cyber cell or it is not within the reach and the matter is urgent, then he or she can file a First Information Report (FIR) at the local police station. If the police do not accept the complaint, then he or she can approach the Commissioner or Judicial Magistrate. Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code makes it mandatory for every police officer to record any information of an offense, irrespective of the jurisdiction of the crime.
ZERO FIR: In case if it is out of the jurisdiction of the police officer then he will record a Zero FIR. The police officers have to forward that to the police station which comes under the jurisdiction of the offense committed. A Zero FIR helps the victims in getting immediate attention. Under the Indian Penal Code, most of the cyber crimes are cognizable offenses where the warrant is not required for an arrest or investigation.
List of Documents to be attested to file a complaint
The following are the list of documents to be submitted along with the complaints relating to various cyber crimes:
Documents for Email related complaints
- A written complaint about the offense
- A copy of the alleged email as received by the original receiver. Forwarded emails are avoided
- The complete header of the alleged email
- The alleged email to be provided in both hard and soft copies with its header. Soft copy is submitted in a CD-R
Documents for Social Media related complaints
- The alleged profile or the content’s copy or screenshot or the screenshot of the URL of the alleged content
- The alleged content to be provided in both hard and soft copies and the soft copy is submitted in a CD-R
Documents for Mobile Application related complaints
- A screenshot of the alleged app and the area from where it was downloaded
- The bank statement of the victim in case any transactions were made during or after the incident
- Soft copies of all the previously mentioned documents.
Documents for Business Email related complaints
- A brief note about the offense and the incident
- Name, location, bank name and account number of origin
- Name and bank account number of the recipient as per the bank records
- Bank location of the recipient (not mandatory)
- Date and amount of transaction
- SWIFT number
Documents for Data Theft complaints
- A copy of the stolen data together with the copyright certificate is required
- Details of the suspected employee or employees besides the following documents of the suspected employee(s)
- Letter of appointment
- Non-disclosure agreement
- List of duties assigned
- List of clients handled by the suspected employee(s)
- Proof of the breach of the copyrighted data
- Devices which are used by the accused during his/her terms of service
Documents for Ransomware or Malware complaints
- Details like email ID, phone number or evidence showing any other means of communication through which the ransom was demanded
- If the malware was sent as an email attachment, screenshots of the email with the complete header of the first receiver should be provided
Documents for Internet Banking, Online Transactions/ Lottery Scam/ Fake call-related complaints
- Copy of the bank statements of the concerned bank for the last six months
- A copy of the SMS received connected to the suspected transactions
- Copy of the ID proof and address proof of the victim as shown in the bank records.
Documents for Bitcoin related-complaints
- A written brief about the offense
- The address of the bitcoin
- The amount of bitcoin in question
- The address from or to whom the sale or purchase of the bitcoin have been done
Documents for Online cheating complaints
- Print out of the alleged email along with the complete header as received by the original receiver (forwarded emails are avoided)
- Bank statement of the victim
- Details of the suspected transactions
- Soft copies of all the documents.
Cyber Crime Complaint Online
The online portal to file a complaint is https://cybercrime.gov.in/Accept.aspx, an initiative taken by the Government of India for reporting complaints such as Child Pornography, Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) or Rape and other cybercrimes. The following are the steps to report a cybercrime online –
Step 1: First go to https://cybercrime.gov.in/Accept.aspx
Step 2: Click ‘Report other cybercrimes’ on the menu.
Step 3: Then click on ‘File a Complaint’.
Step 4: Read the conditions and accept them.
Step 5: Register mobile number and fill the name and State.
Step 6: Fill the relevant details about the offense.
As the usage of the internet continues to develop, the potential for cybercrime will grow. It takes place in the form of hacking cyberstalking, cyber pornography, and so on. The problem is not with adequate awareness, but with actually reporting that a crime has occurred. People should not ignore cyber crimes and report these crimes and get convictions, otherwise committing cybercrimes will continue to exist. If there is any kind of cybercrime problems, then file a complaint so that the police will also take effort and interest to record and investigate the matter and it will also aid the police to get them equipped with tools to solve any kind of cybercrime. People also should be aware, and they should safeguard their information.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Where do I report cybercrime complaints in India?
One can report the complaint by filing in nearest or any cyber cell or by lodging an FIR in a police station or by using an online portal to file a complaint.
- How can I make a complaint about cybercrime?
You can make a complaint by writing a complaint letter about the offense to the head of the cybercrime cell and provide all the necessary details relating to the offense.
- Can I file a cyber complaint online?
By using the online portal, https://cybercrime.gov.in/Accept.aspx one can file the complaint online.
- What happens after reporting a complaint online?
The complaint reported will be handled by the concerned state police authorities based on the selection of state while reporting the complaint.
- What are the steps to be taken to prevent cybercrime?
- People should secure the system fully.
- People are advised to change the passwords at regular intervals to manage social media settings.
- Safeguard personal information and keep your software updated.
- https://www.myadvo.in/blog/how-to-file-a-cyber-complaint-with -cyber-cell-in-India/
-  Pornography – a material (visual or printed) which contains the explicit description or display of sexual organs intended to stimulate sexual excitement.
-  Phishing – the fraudulent purpose of sending emails in order to induce the person to reveal some personal information such as passwords.
-  https://lawyerinc.net/learning/how-to-file-a-cyber-crime-complaint-in-india/ (retrieved on 02-07-2020).
-  https://ifflab.org/how-to-file-a-cyber-crime-complaint-in-india/ (retrieved on 02-07-2020).
-  Ransomware – a form of malware designed to block access to a computer system.
-  https://indianlegalsolution/how-to-register-cyber-crime-to-police-full-step-by-step-process/ (retrieved on 03-07-2020).
-  https://www.myado.in/blog/how-to-file-a-cyber-crime-complaint-with-cyber-cell-in-india/ (retrieved on 03-07-2020).