With reference from Uday Prabhu ([email protected])

The increase in the internet usage over the last decade has resulted in increasing cyber crimes and cases of online cheating. It can be quite confusing for a cyber crime victim to understand the steps to register a cyber crime FIR. In the face of an adversity, it is essential to know how to file a cyber crime complaint in India?
India’s Progress Towards a ‘Digital India’ Vision
The “Digital India” vision and the 2016 demonetization have been the game-changers for India’s digital landscape.
Within a fortnight, thousands of Indians were creating their presence ‘online’. Additionally, affordable mobile handsets and high-speed data plans saw more and more Indians welcoming the digital frenzy with open arms.
The internet penetration in India currently is 34%. This translates to roughly 500 million users. With millions of individuals creating their online presence, the consequences of this digital plague have been frightening.
The result? An unrestrained growth in data theft complaints, online cheating cases, online financial frauds and much more. This calls for all the more reason to know how to file a cyber crime complaint in India?
Do not wait for a Cyber Crime to strike you to know what to do in case you are the victim of one!
Did you know that at least one cyber crime is reported every 10 minutes in India? In 2017, 4035 cyber crime cases were registered under the Information Technology (IT) Act.
Cyber Crimes against Women and Children Are on the Rise
Women and children have been found to be most gullible in the online world with cyber crimes against women and children witnessing a sharp rise over the last couple of years. Women are often subjected to cyber crimes such as cyber harassment, online stalking, cyber pornography, cyber defamation, matrimonial frauds and much more.

Children are also soft targets for cyber criminals as most teenagers and adolescents manage their online presence without adult guidance. It is hard to get over the spate of deaths of innocent teenagers resulting from the online suicidal game – Blue Whale. In fact, as parents, if you observe restlessness, insomnia, excess addiction to the internet or other unnatural changes in your child’s behaviour, then it is about time that you exercise caution and monitor your child’s online activities.

Apart from these, online financial frauds have also become an everyday occurrence. Each day, thousands of innocent individuals fall prey to online banking and credit/debit card frauds.
Statistics show that over 25,800 online banking frauds were reported in 2017, which amounted to nearly ₹179 crore!!

Steps to File a Cyber Crime Complaint
Let’s accept it, we have all seen such cases happen with our kith and kin. Losing one’s hard earned money to online criminals or seeing a loved one suffer due to a matrimonial scam can be painful and hard to accept. And the scenario that follows is utter confusion and inability to comprehend the next course of action. Where to file a cyber crime complaint? What are the steps to register a cyber crime FIR? What evidence to provide? How long to wait before following up and so much more! In the event of a cyber crime, it is really distressing to get a grip on the situation. Worst still, to go through the process of understanding how to file a cyber crime complaint in that grueling moment! We recommend that one should not wait for a cyber crime to strike to be aware of the response mechanism to a cyber offense. The following section shall tell you how to file a cyber crime complaint in India in few simple steps.

  • The very first step to file a cyber crime complaint is to register a written complaint with the cyber crime cell of the city are currently in.
    According to the IT Act, a cyber crime comes under the purview of global jurisdiction. This 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.
    At present, most cities in India have a dedicated cyber crime cell. The last section of this article shall provide you with the list of cyber cells in India.
  • When filing the cyber crime complaint, you need to provide your name, contact details, and address for mailing. You need to address the written complaint to the Head of the Cyber Crime Cell of the city where you are filing the cyber crime complaint.
  • In case you are a victim of online harassment, a legal counsel can be approached to assist you with reporting it to the police station. Additionally, you may be asked to provide certain documents with the complaint. This would, however, depend on the nature of the crime.
  • Register a Cyber Crime FIR: If you do not have access to any of the cyber cells in India, you can file a First Information Report (FIR) at the local police station. In case your complaint is not accepted there, you can approach the Commissioner or the city’s Judicial Magistrate.
  • Certain cyber crime offenses come under the Indian Penal Code. You can register a cyber crime FIR at the nearest local police station to report them.
    It is mandatory under Section 154, Code of Criminal Procedure, for every police officer to record the information/complaint of an offense, irrespective of the jurisdiction in which the crime was committed.
  • Most of the cyber crimes that are covered under the Indian Penal Code are classified as cognizable offenses. A cognizable offense is the one in which a warrant is not required for an arrest or investigation.
    In this case, a police officer is bound to record a Zero FIR from the complainant. He must then forward it to the police station under the jurisdiction of the place where the offense was committed.
  • Zero FIR offers some solace to victims of cases that require immediate attention/investigation as it avoids wasting time in enlisting the offense on police records.
    For Filing Complaints Related to Social Media Cyber Crimes:
  • Apart from the above steps, one must also register a complaint on the corresponding platform where the offense was committed. The steps for the same are clearly stated on every social media platform.
  • Most of the social media platforms have a clear procedure in place for reporting any abuse or other nasty offenses. You must make sure that you report such activities in the very initial stages of its occurrence. This shall enable the concerned social media platform to take immediate steps for blocking further activities and protecting the privacy of your personal information.
  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube have a strict and clear redressal mechanism to protect its users from online abuse and cyber crimes. Make sure that you do your groundwork on their guidelines for reporting an abuse without waiting for an abuse to actually happen!
    Registering an Online Cyber Crime Complaint
    At present, the Ministry of Home Affairs is in the process of launching a centralized online cyber crime registration portal that would eliminate the need to visit a police station for the same. However, the Cyber Crime Cell of Delhi Police and Indore have already launched an online portal for educating the masses on cyber crimes and also accepting
    online cyber crime complaints. Following are the links to file a cyber crime complaint in India through an online portal:
  • http://cybercrime.gov.in
  • Documents Required to File a Cyber Crime Complaint
    It could be quite hassling to maintain composure when you end up becoming a victim of a cyber crime or find your loved ones going through that ordeal. What could get all the more frustrating is gathering the many documents required to file a cyber crime complaint? Most victims do not have the faintest idea of what documents are required to file a cyber crime complaint!
    This section shall save you the trouble of browsing through scores of Google results to understand what you would need to file a cyber crime complaint in India. Here’s the checklist.
    For Email Based Complaints
    • A written brief about the offense
    • A copy of the suspected email as received by the original receiver (forwarded emails should be avoided)
    • The complete header of the suspected email
    • Hard and soft copies of the alleged email and its header
    • Ensure that the soft copy is provided in a CD-R
    For Social Media Based Complaints
    • A copy or screenshot showing the alleged profile/content
    • 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
    For Mobile Application Based Complaints
    • A screenshot of the alleged app and the location from where it was downloaded
    • The victim’s bank statements in case any transactions were made after the incident
    • Soft copies of all the aforesaid documents
    For Business Email Based Complaints
    • A written brief about the offense
    • Originating name and location
    • Originating bank name and account number
    • Recipient’s name (as in bank records)
    • Recipient’s bank account number
    • Recipient’s bank location (not mandatory)
    • Date and amount of transaction
    • SWIFT number
    For Data Theft Complaints
    • A copy of the stolen data
    • 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
  • 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)
    For Ransomware/Malware Complaints
    • The email ID, phone number or evidence of any other means of communication through which the demand for ransom was made
    • In case the malware was sent as an email attachment, screenshots of the email with the complete header of the first receiver
    For Internet Banking/Online Transactions/Lottery Scam/Fake Call Related Complaints
    • Bank statements of the concerned bank for the last six months
    • A copy of the SMSs received related to the suspected transactions
    • Copy of the victim’s ID and address proof as in bank records
    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 have been done
    For Online Cheating Complaints
    • A print out of the alleged email 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
    List of Cyber Cells in India
    Gujarat Cyber Crime Cell
    Website: http://www.police.gujarat.gov.in Address: First floor, Police Bhavan, Sector 18, Gandhinagar Contact: (079) 23246330/23254344 Email ID: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
    Bangalore Cyber Crime Cell
    Website: http://www.cyberpolicebangalore.nic.in/ Address: Cyber Crime Police Station, CID Annexe Building, Carlton House, # 1, Palace Road, Bangalore – 560001 Contact: 8022094498 Email ID: [email protected]
    Nagaland Police Headquarters
    Website: http://nagapol.gov.in/ Address: Nagaland Police Headquarters, P. R. Hill, Kohima – 797001, Nagaland Contact: (0370) 2243711/2243713 Email ID: [email protected]/[email protected]
    Rajasthan Police Department
    Website: http://police.rajasthan.gov.in
    Uttar Pradesh Cyber Crime Cell
    Website: https://uppolice.gov.in Email ID: [email protected], [email protected]
    Lucknow Cyber Crime Cell
    Economic Offences Wing Address: V-Floor, Indira Bhawan, Ashok Marg, Lucknow Contact: (0522) 2287253 Email ID: [email protected]
    Noida Cyber Crime Cell
    Website: http://www.cccinoida.org Address: Centre for Cyber Crime Investigation, Plot No: B-110 A, Sector-6, Noida Contact: (0120) 2422271, 8800165252