With the extensive use of technology including smartphones and other gadgets, the number of cybercrime complaints has also increased. According to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), around 100,000 cybercrime complaints have been received from all over the country during 2021.
FIA director-general Dr Sanaullah Abbasi said that a total of 102,356 complaints from Jan 1, 2021, to Dec 31, 2021, have been received. Among these, 23% of the complaints were those in which Facebook was used as a medium.
FIA Reports 100K Cybercrime Complaints in 2021
He further revealed that FIA has received complaints from not only the common man but also from other law enforcement agencies in the country. Because FIA is the only legitimate agency to investigate cybercrimes and to interact with international law enforcement.
Digital rights activist Nighat Dad agreed that the FIA’s cybercrime wings mounted efforts to reach out to people increasingly in the last two years. However, she felt this doesn’t necessarily show that people have more confidence in the agency. According to her,
“I guess internet penetration, as well as awareness [about cybercrimes], have increased and now people know about [the existence of] cybercrime wings in different cities. The number of cybercrime wings has been increased over the last one year and this is also one of the reasons behind the rising number of complaints”.
How does FIA Consider any complaint as a Crime?
FIA does not consider every complaint as a criminal case. It first verifies each and every complaint and initiates an inquiry after verification. The inquiries translate into criminal cases if a cognisable offence is made.
Of the total 102,356 complaints made last year, 80,641 went into verification and 15,932 of them passed the criteria for initiating inquiries. A total of 1,202 cases were registered under relevant sections of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act and over 1,300 suspects were arrested.
According to official data, 32pc of the complaints in 2021 were reported by students. Whereas, 25pc of them pertained to financial crimes.
The average number of complaints received per month has doubled in just four years
Among the categories of cases, financial fraud and forgery topped the list as 427 FIRs were registered and 388 arrests were made in this category. It was then followed by the offence of extortion and blackmailing under which 267 cases were registered and 185 people arrested.
A total of 205 cases were registered under Section 20 (dignity of a natural person), 199 cases under Section 21 (rape/modesty of natural person), 76 cases of cyberterrorism/hate speech and 49 cases of child pornography were registered in the year.