7 Steps for recovering your money if “You” are a Victim of an Online Recruitment Scam

-Advocate Puneet Bhasin, Cyber Law Expert, Cyberjure Legal Counsulting

contact.cyberjure@gmail.com

http://www.cyberjure.com

http://www.indiancyberlawyer.wordpress.com

scamjob

With the advent of cyberspace, the number of online scams are on the rise and online recruitment scams being a major cyber crime with rising statistics.

A typical scam email or advertisement will mention a spoofed email id of a reputed company and will either offer you a job via email, or will place a newspaper advertisement with the contact email id for victims to fall prey.

On responding to such an email, a victim will receive a positive response and will be asked to deposit a refundable amount of money in a specified bank account for securing the job. Once the money is deposited, the recruitment scammer disappears for good and your money is gone!

No real job requires any kind of fee, including administrative, visa processing, work permits, certificates, authorizations, “Affidavit of Guarantee”, “Letter of Attestation”, “Affidavit of Oath” “Affirmation”, or other legal or immigration fees.  No real company ever requires you to make a “refundable” deposit before you are interviewed.  No real company says it will reimburse you for expenses!  As soon as you are asked to pay any money for anything, including a visa or work permit, that tells you there is no job, it is a scam! 

However, Cyber Laws has a legal recourse to recover your money if you are a victim of such scams.

Online Recruitment Scammers can be booked under the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and The Indian Penal Code.

Simply following the 7 steps given below can help you recover your money:

  1. File a complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell to trace the ip address from which you received the scam email.
  2. Submit a Customer Dispute Resolution Form with the Bank from where you have transferred the money.
  3. Make a complaint to the Bank in which the Scammer has a bank account, where you have transferred the money.
  4. File a Complaint before the Adjudicating Officer, Information Technology Act, 2000 against the Bank where the scammers bank account is functional, along with making the ip address a party so that the Court orders a tracing of the ip address.
  5. The Court will further conduct an enquiry into your complaint and the matter will be heard and decided within a period of 6 to 9 months.
  6. The Complaint should be filed in the format as specified in The Information Technology (Qualification and Experience of Adjudicating Officers and Manner of Holding Enquiry) Rules, 2003; which is as follows:

 PROFORMA FOR COMPLAINT TO ADJUDICATING OFFICER

UNDER INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT – 2000

I Name of the Complainant

  1. E-mail address
  2. Telephone No.
  3. Address for correspondence
  4. Digital Signature Certificate, if any

II Name of the Respondent

         E-mail address

  1. Telephone No.
  2. Address for correspondence
  3. Digital Signature Certificate, if any

III Damages claimed

Fee deposited

Demand Draft No.____________dated __________Branch__

IV Complaint under Section/Rule/Direction/Order et

V Time of Contravention

VI Place of Contravention

VII Cause of action

VIII Brief facts of the case

 

 (Signature of the Complainant)

  1. The Application Fees for filing a Complaint is Rs. 50 and depending on the claim amount a court fees is payable.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice and does not constitute an Attorney-Client relationship between the author and reader. Rights of photo in article belong to http://www.eventspeak.com

Online Banking Scams: Legal Recourse for a Victim

-Advocate Puneet Bhasin, Cyber Law Expert, Cyberjure Legal Consulting

contact.cyberjure@gmail.com

online banking fraud

 If you are a victim of an online credit card scam, then you can seek redress and relief under cyber laws.  In the recent judgement of December 2014 by Adjudicating Officer, Information Technology Act, 2000 in the case of Bal Kishen Rai.v. PNB & Ors., the Court held , that even if a victim divulges his own password by mistake in a phishing scam to a cyber criminal, in case on internet banking, he is still protected by law, and in the light of the Indian Banker’s Code 2014 read along with recent RBI Guidelines  and the principles of the US Banker’s Code, in cases of Internet Banking Frauds and Credit Card frauds a victim’s liability is restricted to Rs. 10,000 only and the loss has to be borne by the Bank. This is a principle of US Internet Banking Law which in this landmark judgement for the first time has laid the foundation of Indian Internet Banking Liability which is pro-consumers and completely protects their interests in cyber crimes.

Meaning of Online Banking Scams:

  1. Where your bank account is debited by an unauthorised online transaction.
  2. Where your credit card has been used without your authorisation for any transaction.
  3. Where you have given your transaction password to a scammer in response to a Phishing scam, which means you receive an email which resembles an email from a bank asking for your bank account details.
  4. Where you have divulged your OTP in a Vishing scam. A vishing scam is one where a person personates a banking official and contacts you to obtain your credit card information on the pretext of generating a new PIN for you, and in the process undertakes online transactions using your credit card data and cheats you into divulging your OTP so that he can complete the transaction.
  5. Where a cyber criminal uses a duplicate SIM card of your registered mobile number, and using your credit card data and due to duplicate SIM has access to OTP also.
  6. Where your SIM card is cloned. SIM card cloning can happen in hotels, shops and any place where you use your credit card for a transaction, and your credit card data is stolen and a cloned credit card is made.

If you are a victim of Online Banking, then you have legal recourse under the provisions of Section 43 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 which deals with Unauthorised Access along with legal recourse against the Bank under Section 43A of the Information Technology Act for failure to protect your sensitive information and passwords, with claim for compensation upto Rs. 5 Crores.

A victim can file a complaint of the cyber crime in the prescribed format before the Adjudicating Officer, Information Technology Act, 2000 with the prescribed application fees of Rs. 50 and requisite court fees. The duration for the disposal of cyber law matters is speedy and  is within 6 to 9 months of filing the complaint.

Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an Attorney-Client relationship between the author and the reader. Rights to Photo in article belong to http://www.pardaphaash.com

Online Revenge Porn-Recourse for Victims under Cyber Laws

– Advocate Puneet Bhasin, Cyber Law Expert, Cyberjure Legal Consulting
http://www.cyberjure.com

revenge porn
Online Revenge Porn means that when there are relationship break ups, then either party puts up nude pictures of the other or videos of their intimate moments on social networking media, blogs and other websites. Online Revenge Porn is on the rise world over with the advent of an open arena of the internet. Most online porn in India is amateur porn or revenge porn. World over, every country has enacted specific legislation to deal with revenge porn.
UK is coming out with the Revenge Porn Law. Many US States already have their Revenge porn laws. Virginia also has a revenge porn law and on 20th October, 2014 the first person was charged and convicted under their law.
In India we do not have a separate Revenge Porn Law, but Sections 67, 67-A and 66-A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 make online publication of Revenge porn a punishable offence.
Section 67 reads as under:
Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form. -Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.
This section makes a person liable for transmitting or causing to transmit nude photos or content of the nature that it can deprave/corrupt the viewer of such content.
When people are in relationships, they tend to share nude or naughty photos of themselves with each other, and these photos are misused by the jilted partner in the event of a break up.
A victim can seek recourse under Section 67 in such a case.
Section 67 A of the Information Technology Act reads as under:
“Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form. – Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form any material which contains sexually explicit act or conduct shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.”
This section also criminalizes the act of any party transmitting via email, MMS or video any act or conduct of explicit nature which the parties indulged in during the course of the relationship.
A victim can file a complaint with the Cyber Police Station along with filing an FIR in the Police Station.
In India we definitely need separate and comprehensive revenge porn laws along with an efficient judicial mechanism to deal with these offences in short duration of time. Many countries have a National Helpline along with a separate Cell to deal with Online Revenge Porn, as these matters require immediate redressal before the video goes viral. A National Helpline for revenge should be set up in India too, where victims can complain and there would be immediate pull down of the content from the internet. Most developed countries have enacted specific laws for the same already because of the huge increase in Revenge porn in the virtual world.
Disclaimer: This article is purely for educational purpose and is not in the nature of legal advice. It does not constitute any lawyer-client relationship between the author and the reader.

Online Romance Scammers- Legal Recourse for a victim

– Cyberjure Legal Consulting

  http://www.cyberjure.com

  contact.cyberjure@gmail.com

romance scammer 2

The deviant criminal mind and online impostor in the online dating/matrimonial arena can be summed up in two words the ‘Romance Scammer.’ The images that Romance Scammers prefer to use on fake dating site profiles are that of professional models and are not a true reflection of themselves.[1] There are times when the email ids exchanged over these dating and matrimonial portals give rise to email spamming. In addition, there are occasionally photographs and other personal data exchanged over such emails chats or conversations.

Masquerading online as attractive people these fraudsters attempt to allure their potential victims into providing them with financial support. This may be in the form of medical expenses,airplane tickets, educational expenses or any other means of advance fee fraud[2].  It is a kind of organized crime. The crime can only truly be combated through the use of online education or public awareness. There are several anti-scam agencies and individuals providing online educational support with combating these deviant criminals.

As there are lakhs of educated youth registered on these matrimonial sites, CID sleuths have suggested some steps to identify such con artistes[3]:

1. Always verify the profile details of the individual before becoming close to that person. Employment verification can be easily done by calling up the concerned company or by paying a personal visit.

2. Don’t give money to people with whom you become friends through online profiles even if they emotionally blackmail you.

3. Do not indulge in online chatting, dating or get emotionally involved with people without verifying the truthfulness of their claims.

None of the victims invariably bother to verify the genuineness of the profiles of the accused and police believe that the not so easily available ‘suitable’ partner is the reason behind it.

Thus, we see that every age group and demographic is at risk. Indian dating and matrimonial websites do not accept responsibility or liability for any error or omission in any information on the site. A big reason for this is Cyber Personation, which is made very easy with the advent of online portals for relationships. People can write anything on their virtual profiles without any scrutiny.

There are many cases where people realize that they are the victims of this cyber crime after they are already married to such fraudsters, when it turns out that the online matrimonial profiles of their spouse had completely fake details.

 However, there is legal recourse for victims of such cheating.

 Provisions in Cyber Laws:

 Section 66-D of the Information Technology Act, 2000 provides for punishment for cheating by personation by using a computer resource. This legal provision reads as under:

 “Whoever, by means for any communication device or computer resource cheats by personating, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees.”

 This provision envisages that if a person assumes the character or appearance which is not what he really is or passes oneself off as someone he really is not, especially with fraudulent intent, then the victim can file a complaint before the Adjudicating Officer under this provision. The victim can be awarded a fine of upto 1 lakh Rupees.

 The Rules under the Information Technology Act provides that the Adjudicating Officer is required to hear and decide an application in 4 months, and the whole matter has to be decided in 6 months.

 The online dating and matrimonial portals can also be held liable under the Information Technology Act as there are certain liabilities associated with “Intermediaries” under the Information Technology Act.

 The Online Service Providers being “Intermediaries” can be held liable under Section 79 (3) (a) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 if:

 “The intermediary has conspired or abetted or aided or induced, whether by threats or promise or otherwise in the commission of the unlawful act.”

 The matrimonial websites do promise suitable matches and keep emailing the same to the registered users, and also at times charge for specialized services of match making whereby they are presumed to have verified the credentials of the parties, thereby making them liable under the Information Technology Act, 2000.

 Also, along with action under the Information Technology Act, it is advisable to simultaneously file an FIR under Section 415, 416, 417, 419 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code. All these sections deal with cheating and cheating by personation.

 If you are a victim of such a cyber crime, then there is legal recourse available under the Information Technology Act against the fraudster and the Intermediary. You can directly file a complaint before the Adjudicating Officer, Ministry of Information Technology, Information Technology Act, 2000.[4]

 [1]http://criminalnationnews.blogspot.in/2013/03/fake-dating-sites-profiles.html

[2] Ibid.

[3]http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Matrimonial-sites-become-a-new-crime-spot-for-con-men/articleshow/14162858.cms

[4]http://www.lawyersclubindia.com/articles/Fake-profiles-on-matrimonial-and-dating-websites-cyber-law-has-an-answer–6332.asp#.VCKgUvmSyRg

Disclaimer: This article is only for educational purposes and does not constitute a legal opinion.

Cyber Crime Prevention Campaign- Pro bono Legal Aid Campaign

The rate of cyber crimes in India is on the rise. We at Cyberjure Legal Consulting have undertaken a campaign to create awareness and arrest the growth of cyber crimes. We are a firm specializing in cyber crime laws, e-commerce laws and intellectual property laws in cyber space.Our Cyber Crime Prevention Campaign is for 15 days from 26th July, 2014 to 10th August, 2014, where we shall provide probono consulting for one question related to cyber laws, also we shall upload on a daily basis insights into cyber crimes. Hopefully our endeavour would help victims of cyber crimes and also help e-commerce companies to be perfectly compliant with Information Technology Laws so as to prevent the users of their portals from falling prey to cyber crimes.

Kindly send your question to contact.cyberjure@gmail.com and we shall reply to you within 48 hours.

www.cyberjure.com


 

Cyber Crime info graphics

Cyber crime is a growing threat world over. India has witnessed a 168% rise in cyber crimes in the last one year! And the numbers are just growing. With the advent of technology in every day life, people have become more vulnerable victims of online scammers. Check out the link for the statistical growth in cyber crimes.
http://blog.instantcheckmate.com/cyber-crime-a-growing-threat/

Role of Cyber Laws in Divorce Proceedings

– Advocate Puneet Bhasin, Cyber Lawyer, Cyberjure Legal Consulting

legal.pb@gmail.com

divorce privacy pic

privacy 1

Divorce is definitely a painful process. A relationship that begins with affection at the altar ends with negative emotions in a court room. Divorces are of two kinds- Mutual consent divorce and Contested divorces. Mutual consent divorce is one where the parties agree upon the terms of separation and amicably end the marriage; and Contested divorce is one where one of the parties to the marriage has committed a matrimonial offence. There is a burden of proof on the party who alleges that the other has committed a matrimonial offence. This is in common words called the Fault theory of divorce. Grounds of divorce are adultery, cruelty, etc.

In this digital age, the evidence of a matrimonial offence is mostly contained in a computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet or any other computer resource.  This brings into the picture The Information Technology Act, 2000. For example, in the case of an alleged adultery by a wife, the husband would present the proof of the same from the emails, whats apps and other social media interaction she has exchanged with her boyfriend. The main issue here is the manner in which the husband would obtain this data. If the husband hacks his wife’s email accounts or unauthorisedly accesses her smses he is liable under the Information Technology Act to compensate his wife for the alleged unauthorised access and is liable to be punished for hacking.

The concept of unauthorised access as elucidated in the Information Technology Act includes the act of viewing data in another person’s computer, computer resource or mobile phone without such person’s authorisation. It also makes the act of even touching another person’s computer or mobile phone without their permission an act of unauthorised access and thereby making them liable to pay compensation for the injury caused.

An extension of this concept was read into the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution in the landmark case of Vinod Kaushik v. Madhvika Joshi, whereby the concept of right to privacy was included in the relationship of marriage also. There is a right to privacy which a spouse enjoys even in a matrimonial relation and if the other spouse unauthorisedly accesses smses, whats apps and emails to prove a ground for divorce, then it renders such an erring spouse liable under the Information Technology Act. This party presenting such evidence in a Family Court has not come to the court with clean hands, thereby restricting or negatively affecting the remedies available to him.

The advent of technology and its role in relationships has given cyber laws an important role in divorce proceedings.