Skip to content

HOW TO REPORT AN ONLINE ABUSE?

security, internet, crime-4700815.jpg

“With great powers comes great responsibilities.” Says Robert Downey Jr. to Tom Holland in the movie Spiderman Homecoming. No doubt, social media does give the users a digital platform to practice their Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression, there are instances where the same right is misused in an inapt manner which leads to crimes like Cyber-Defamation, Cyberbullying, Online abuse and others.

Any form of ill-treatment on social media or on digital platforms that poses a threat to an individual or a community is online abuse. Cyberbullying, Emotional abuse, Grooming, Sexting, Sexual abuse and Sexual Exploitation are some of the most common forms of online abuse which one might encounter in their daily life while scrolling through social media applications.

As the concept of cyber bullying is witnessing a transition from its premature age to a mature level, people are getting know to the various legal tools & legal bodies through which one can protect oneself from cyber bullying. This includes the development of cyber cells which immediately acts and takes down anything inappropriate present over the internet.

Cyber Crime or online abuse may include any wrongful or criminal activity carried out with the help of technology and electronic gadget like mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Due to the booming rate of cybercrimes in India, multiple cyber cell departments have been established in almost every state to curb the rapid growing rate of cybercrime.

How to register aCyber crime complaint?

The initial step is to lodge a complaint against crime. During such occasions, victims do feel uncomfortable and do not turn up to file their complaints out of shame and not accepting the reality. One must approach the any cyber cell and brief the incident by submitting a written complaint. The complaint shall mention your details like name, contact details and the details of the crime. This shall be addressed to the head of the cyber department. According to the IT Act, a cyber-crime comes under the purview of global jurisdiction which means that a cyber-crime complaint can be registered with any of the cyber cells in India, irrespective of the place where it was originally committed or the place where the victim is currently residing/ staying.

Is FIR required for filing a cybercrime?

If one faces a difficulty to reach out any cyber cell department in their respective locality, one can always file a FIR (First Information Report) at the nearest police station. If the respective officers deny to lodge one’s complaint, one may approach the Commissioner or the city’s Judicial Magistrate.

The concept of cybercrime is also covered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860. Therefore, a cyber crime FIR can always be recorded in any of the local police stations. It is a mandate under Section 154 of CrPC that every police officer should record the information/complaint of an offense, irrespective of the jurisdiction in which the crime was committed.

How to report cybercrime online?

The GOI has also established an online portal where a victim can report a cybercrime. The website is https://cyber crime.gov.in/Accept.aspx. The portal has received cases relating to online Child Pornography (CP), Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) or sexually explicit content such as Rape/Gang Rape (CP/RGR) content and other cybercrimes such as social media crimes, online financial frauds, ransomware, hacking, cryptocurrency crimes, and online cyber trafficking. The portal also provides an option of reporting an anonymous complaint about reporting Child Pornography (CP) or sexually explicit content such as Rape/Gang Rape (RGR) content. One can follow below-mentioned steps to report a cybercrime online –

STEP 1: Go to https://cyber crime.gov.in/Accept.aspx

STEP 2: Go to “Report other cybercrimes”which will be available on the option menu.

STEP 3: Tap on “File a Complaint”.

STEP 4: Give a careful Reading to the terms &conditions and accept them.

STEP 5: Register yourself by entering your mobile number, name and State.

STEP 6: and last stage includes filling in the relevant details about the offence.

The portal also ensures secrecy of the complainant’s identity by providing an option to report a cybercrime anonymously.

Format Of A Cyber Complaint.

There is no particular format as such for a cyber complaint, one should simply address a letter to the nearest police station. Apart from mentioning the details of crime, the complainant should ensure that She/He mentions the name, telephone number and mailing address. An application letter has to be addressed to the Cyber Crime Investigation cell and the necessary documents should be attached.

How to file a complaint against Cyber Stalking?

In today’s time, an individual’s privacy and safety can be at stake due to Cyber Stalking, one might feel unsecure due to the same. Thus, it becomes imperative to address this concern at a war footing. Prior to the February 2013 amendment, there was no specific law against it, now it falls under the purview of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013.

Under Section 354(d), if any person follows a woman and tries to contact her in order to foster personal interaction despite the woman’s disinclination towards it, then he is committing stalking and can be charged against it. Also, if a person monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, he commits the offence of stalking.

Filing a complaint against Cyber Stalking:

  • Register a written complaint to your immediate cyber cell in the city.
  • File an F.I.R. in the local police station. In case of non-acceptance of your complaint, you can always refer the complaint to the commissioner or judicial magistrate of the city.
  • A legal counsel/assistance to help you file a case will be provided to you.

How to file a complaint about Cyber Bullying?

Cyberbullying is the bullying executed through digital devices like computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets leading to humiliation. It also comprises posting, sending or sharing negative, nasty or false information about another individual for causing humiliation and what is popularly known as character assassination.

  • Most social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, etc. have clear guidelines with respect to reporting and curbing cyberbullying. Such platforms can help you in having the offensive post removed.
  • Further, you can report cyberbullying in India by mailing a complaint to complaint-mwcd@gov.in describing the details.
  • You can also lodge a complaint at your nearest cyber cell unit.

What to do if your Cyber Cell refuses to accept your complaint?

If the cyber cell refuses to file or accept your cyber complaint, you can fill a direct representation to the nearest Judicial Magistrate stating the fact that the complaint has not been accepted under any/certain circumstances.

What are the documents required to file a Cyber Crime complaint?

Following  are the documents required to file a Cyber Crime complaint,

For Email Based Complaints:

  • A written complaint explaining the complete incidence and offence,
  • Copy of the alleged Email taken from the original receiver. Copy of the forwarded email should be avoided.
  • Full Header of the alleged Email.
  • Copy of email and header should be in both hard & soft forms (in CD-R only).

For Social Media Based Complaints:

  • A copy or screenshot of the alleged profile and/or the content or a screenshot of the URL of the alleged content,
  • Hard and soft copies of the alleged content (ensure that the soft copy is provided in a CD-R form).

For Mobile App-Based Complaints:

  • A screenshot of the alleged app,
  • The location from where it was downloaded,
  • The victim’s bank statements in case any transactions were made after/before/during the incident,
  • Soft copies of all the above-mentioned documents.

For Business Email Based Complaints:

  • A written brief about the offense and the incident,
  • Originating name (as in the email or offender) and location,
  • Originating bank name and account number (as per the email),
  • Recipient’s name (as in bank records), bank account number and bank location (not mandatory),
  • Date and amount of transaction as done,
  • SWIFT number,
  • Additional Information (if available) – including “FFC”- For Further Credit; “FAV” – In Favor Of.

For Data Theft Complaints:

  • A copy of the stolen data and brief,
  • The copyright certificate of the allegedly stolen data,
  • Details of the suspected employee/(s),
  • The following documents are required in relation to the suspected employee(s):
    • Letter of Appointment,
    • Non-disclosure Agreement,
    • Assigned list of duty and gadgets,
    • List of clients that the suspect handles,
  • The proof of breach of your copyright data,
  • Devices used by the accused during his/her term of service (only if available) with the company.

For Ransomware/Malware Complaints:

  • Email id /phone number (or any details) or any other means of communication through which ransom has been demanded,
  • If malware was sent in the attachment of the mail, screenshots of the mail with full header of first receiver be provided.

For Internet Banking/Online Transactions/Lottery Scam/Fake Call Related Complaints:

  • Bank statement of the concerned bank for the last six months,
  • A copy of the SMS/(s) received related to the suspected transactions,
  • Copy of the victim’s ID & address proof as per the bank record.

For Net Banking/ATM Complaints:

  • A print out of the alleged emails with its complete header as received by the original receiver (forwarded emails should be avoided),
  • Victim’s bank statement,
  • Details of the suspected transactions,
  • Soft copies of all the aforesaid documents.

For Bitcoin Based Complaints:

  • A written brief about the offense,
  • The address of the bitcoin,
  • The amount of bitcoin in question,
  • The address from/to whom the purchase/sale of the bitcoins has been done.

Cyber crime against Women & Children

The rise of cyber crime has resulted in targeting the most vulnerable segment of the society, i.e. women and children. The most common and frequently reported sorts of cyber crimes against the women include cyberstalking, pornography, morphing, online harassment, trolling and bullying, threat and intimidation, and email spoofing. While against the child, the types of cyber crime are the circulation of pedophilic videos/ messages, child pornography, etc. The extent of mischief has degraded to a level where the top searches for a porn site show result in rapes and child pornography. Also, there are some online social games such as Blue Whale which led to the unfortunate deaths of the many innocent teenagers.

The Ministry of Home Affairs introduced the scheme for cyber crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCWC) to handle cyber crimes against women and children effectively in the country with an estimated outlay of Rs. 223.198 crores (approx), for formulating:

  • Online cyber crime reporting unit,
  • Forensic Unit,
  • Capacity building Unit,
  • Research and Development Unit and
  • Awareness creation Unit.

What are the Consequences of Cyber Crime?

It is really important to know how to report cyber crime as the consequences of cyber crime are borne by the victim.

  • Revenue Loss – Cyber Crime done against the company results in huge revenue losses or income loss to the company especially when the company’s sensitive data and information is compromised.
  • Reputation Damage – The reputation of an organization can go haywire when its information is hacked. In most cases, where hacking occurs with bank accounts or credit/debit cards, often customers lose trust in the organization.
  • Aftermath of Cyber Terrorism –  Cyber terrorism is one of the most serious cyber crime and thus affects the victims badly, as it affects a significantly large number of people at once. It can weaken countries’ economy greatly, thereby stripping them of its resources and making it more vulnerable to military attack. It could affect the economy by loss of money during the downtime which is a part of cyber crime strategy.
  • Impact on Society and Government – Since computers have replaced manual work in almost every field and the government is also going digitized, cyber crime has its impact on the government and society as well. One can witness in the case when some young hackers hacked the Maharashtra government’s website. This has become a cost-efficient method of making money for the criminals.

This article is written by Nupoor Agarwal, 2nd year BBA LLB (Hons.) student of School of Law, NMIMS, Navi Mumbai during her internship with LeDroit India.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *