Jamtara: The hub for cybercrime!
“Your ATM card has been blocked! Do you want to reactivate it?” have you ever came across such calls these days? Most likely your answer must be yes. But have you ever thought how many people actually fell prey to this? To your surprise more than you imagined. Cyber Crime is now not a new phenomenon instead a deep rooted and systematic crime taking place in the country. Being very precise cybercrime is such well functioned that it becomes distinctively accessible for the locals to become a part of it. A beyond the back district of Jharkhand, Jamtara, a small town with not much population is today a hub for cybercrime. This computer-literate region having a significant population of poor farmers barely gets 5 hours of electricity per day. Yet, some hundred villages here have emerged as a delirious phishing industry fulcrum! What made Jamtara the hub for cybercrime but most importantly why people increasingly are becoming a part of it?
How ‘Jamtara’ functions?
Around 80% of phishing calls in India are made from Jamtara. Hundreds and thousands of calls are made each day to thousands of people repeating the same line all over again- some fell prey while others don’t. Maybe all the calls a day might not respond but the next day some may and just like this in few minutes these people gets thousands of rupees richer. The victims share their debit or credit card details with the OTP’s to these self-proclaimed ‘bank persons’ who in turn strip them out of all their money within next few minutes. The numbers are chosen randomly and calls are made from fake ID’s using several different sim cards.
But what’s more interesting to know about is the participants who doesn’t see this field as criminal instead as an opportunity. The net of cybercrime operates with literates and this is the harsh reality. These frauds mostly are matriculate but unemployed, so in order to earn money and feed their families they move out to several metro cities in search of job. This is where they gets entangled with the phishing industry as it has not much labour yet a remarkable sum! How Jamtara began as a cyber hub is not well known. It is believed that before phishing industry, youth of Jamtara who moved out to the metro cities for employment opportunities were frauded in a game known as ‘Chehra Pehnchano’. And this fraud surprisingly led them to operate this so called ‘card fraud’ system in the district of Jamtara. The growing unemployment in the country is feeding the core of not just cybercrime but a wave of criminal industries.
“Although the total number of cybercrimes are less than 0.1% of the total IPC and SLL crimes in a year in India, in 30-35% of all crimes, criminals are using mobile phones for communication,” says Ish Kumar, director of the NCRB.
Jamtara, located in the Santhal Pargana region of Jharkhand, which became a district in 2001, does not have a record of never being associated with crime. People here were heavily involved in the work of farming. After this, the incidents of robbing the train passengers by feeding them drugs increased. In this way there have been crimes in this area. But according to the manner in which the digital revolution has taken place after 2014, the crime also flourished here and then this place became a stronghold of cybercrime.
How the Jamtara phishing industry operates?
Well, it’s quite simple! These people first gets a smart phone, multiple sim cards from several fake KYC documents and a small peaceful area to make a call, zero Input boundless profit! On an average one person makes hundreds of phone call every day and many responds favorably to them. They are usually accompanied by other companions who then help them writing down the details provided on the call. And just like that the money is transferred into digital wallets and fast enough out of it. Until few years ago these people operate in a group, but now as the group is easily located by the local police officials, Fraudsters keep their profile low and work individually. The most usual technique is impersonation. With more than half of country’s cybercrimes, committed by these fraudsters posing as fake bank officials trace back to Jharkhand, this belt is clearly digital India’s frailty. And why not? It’s just a game of smart phone!
People of Jamtara doesn’t see cybercrime literally as a crime, for them it is an opportunity to earn money for their families. These fraudsters if provided by the job they deserve can really help coping up with the problem. Basically this crime isn’t that tangible as it seems, because all it needs is a little awareness to evaporate. If people start considering the fraud calls as serious and report it right away or just stay quiet, this industry can vanish over a night. Unfortunately it’s our nature to break free from hassle, save out time and get things done easily is what ignites such crimes in the country. In the end it just turns out to be our responsibility to drive out such criminal activities from the country and your part is just not to get involved. Will you choose to play safe or be dumbfounded? Looking only on the darker part doesn’t really works much towards the solution, we should start working on the root causes and maybe then we can achieve a world where crime isn’t a word anymore.