The Gmail account of Dr. Ramachandra Bhatta, professor and head of the department of Fisheries and Economics, College of Fisheries, was hacked at the beginning of October.
The professor’s acquaintances received an email from his Gmail account, claiming that he had to leave Mangalore for Scotland in a hurry and was robbed of all his money and valuable documents there. The email urged the professor’s contacts to send money via Western Union to a particular address in Scotland.
As luck would have it, the professor was not in Mangalore at the time. He was in his native place, a remote area with no phone connectivity, owing to which he was unable to respond when alarmed friends and acquaintances called him on his mobile. However, some of his contacts spoke to his family in Mangalore and clarified the issue. The professor’s son immediately changed the password of the hacked Gmail account.
Although the incident shocked and depressed Mr. Bhatta, he did not lodge any complaint because he had no idea if Mangalore had a security system capable of handling cyber crime.
SP Dr. A. S. Rao confirmed that the rate of cyber crimes is on the rise in Mangalore. He admitted that the city had no separate cyber crime unit. However, citizens were free to lodge complaints either at local police stations or directly approach the SP.
Some of these cases are investigated by trained police; and some were transferred to the Cyber Crime Branch in Bangalore. Dr. Rao said that people never lodge complaints against cyber crimes; and during the past 8 months, not a single case has been registered despite the fact that cyber crime is on the rise. The SP said the people do not complain because they are not aware that they can do so.