Mobile Phone Crimes

As of January 2022, India has over 1.2 billion Telecom Users with an internet penetration of nearly 47%. Further, internet and data rates have never been more affordable; hence internet penetration can only increase in India. However, with the growth of Mobile users in India comes an increase in the number of Mobile Phone Crimes in India. 

Mobile Phone Crimes are cybercrimes committed through mobile phones or that involve the unauthorized access of a user’s mobile Phone for the commission of crimes such as fraud, identity theft, or cheating. Financial gain is the main driving factor for Mobile Phone Crimes. Gaining unauthorized access to a user’s Mobile will leave their personal information vulnerable to being used for various cybercrimes.

Some of the prevalent Mobile Phone Crimes include

Bluebugging: This is a common cybercrime wherein a hacker can access a user’s mobile phone using Bluetooth. A Hacker, through bluebugging, can take complete control over a user’s phone without the user even realizing it since a person can be a victim of bluebugging even if the user’s mobile Bluetooth is switched off. A hacker can access the victim’s address books and messages and even send and make calls. Using this method, a hacker could commit identity theft or extract money from a victim through the OTPs sent from the victim’s bank.

Vishing: Another common cybercrime wherein the scammer calls the victim pretending to be authorized personnel of a bank or any other institution requesting personal information such as credit card numbers, banking passwords, or OTP. 

Smishing: Similar to Vishing, Smishing function through SMS rather than voice, and a victim is tricked into sending personal information, which would later be misused.

Phishing: A widespread cybercrime that closely resembles Vishing and Smishing; however, the main difference is that in this type of cybercrime, the victim is sent a link via email to a website that may closely resemble an official website to extract the personal information of the victim

Malware: Hackers often send malicious software to Victims through SMS, file transfer, or downloading programs from the internet. Once a victim opens the link or software, Malware enters the Mobile without the victim being aware and personal information is stolen for identity theft.

Identity Theft: In many cases, hackers utilize a victim’s personal information to commit Identity Theft. A hacker may also clone a victim’s mobile number and receive OTPs from Banking Institutions to commit theft and fraud.

It must be noted that the potential for cybercrime in the mobile industry is growing at an alarming rate. However, one can reduce the risk of Mobile Phone Crimes by taking certain safety precautions and being vigilant when opening messages or conversing with people requesting personal information. However, in the event of a cybercrime, a victim can file a complaint and register a case against the hacker or scammer under the relevant provisions of the Information Technology Act 2000 and the Indian Penal Code, 1860. In a time of growing mobile user databases, it is essential to be careful and vigilant and proceed with disclosing information carefully.