Identity Theft in India

Authored by Tushar Ranjan, 5th year law student from Amity University Rajasthan

In terms of being a target of some sort of cyber-attack, the numbers are tons higher as 80% were victims of cyber-crimes, with 66% experiencing it within the last 12 months.

Overall, identity theft and fictitious identity cases still contribute around three-fourths of all detected fraud cases. Identity theft has observed an increase from 76% within the half-moon of 2018 to 77% within the half-moon of 2019.Identity theft is the crime of obtaining the private or financial information of another person for the only purpose of assuming that person’s name or identity to make transactions or purchases.

Types of fraud

  1. Criminal fraud
  2. Financial fraud
  3. Identity cloning and concealment
  4. Synthetic fraud
  5. Medical fraud Identity Theft 

Growing concern over privacy

Over 80 percent Indian respondents reported being more alarmed than ever about their privacy, the very best of all 10 countries surveyed far and away (67 percent global average). The key concerns were selling of sensitive personal information to 3rd parties and it getting used in decision-making processes without their consent (41 percent ) and their personal information being exposed during a data breach and compromised by cyber criminals (40 percent ).[1] they’re also most proactive when it involves protecting their privacy, with 74 percent having chosen to not download an app or use a service due to its privacy policy. they’re also more likely to possess opted against purchasing a sensible home device over privacy or security concerns (63 percent vs. 37 percent global average). 

Highlights :

  • Every minute about 19 people fall victim to fraud
  • The mortgage portfolio has observed a 50% increase within the fraud incidence rate.
  • Falsification of address proof is that the hottest behaviour seen amongst fraudsters.
  • In India fraud accounts for 77% of the fraud case in 2018. 
  • Overall, fraud and fictitious identity cases still contribute around three-fourths of all detected fraud cases. 
  • Amongst various financial products, auto loans, mortgage loans and credit cards have seen the most important number of fraud cases from fraud represented by 85% of the entire detected frauds in 2019[2].
  • Identity theft has observed an increase from 76% within the half-moon of 2018 to 77% within the half-moon of 2019.

Laws governing identity thefts in India

The crime of fraud consists of two steps: 

  • Wrongful collection of private identity of a private
  • Wrongful use of such information with an intention of causing legal harm thereto person information

An fraud involves both theft and fraud, therefore the provisions with reference to forgery as provided under the Indian legal code, 1860 (IPC) is usually invoked along side the knowledge Technology Act, 2000.A number of the Sections of IPC like forgery (Section 464), making false documents (Section 465), forgery for purpose of cheating (Section 468), reputation (Section 469), 

WHETHER FRAUD IS THEFT WITHIN THE MEANING OF IPC, 1860 

Although by its name, fraud may be a quite theft of specific kind involving user data, this is often because, it caters to only movable property or such property which is capable of being severed from the world, and is tangible in nature (Section 22 of IPC). Electricity has been included within the ambit of theft but within the case of Avtar Singh v. State of Punjab[3], the Supreme Court held that it’s due to the Section 39 of the Electricity Act and there was no intention of widening the scope of Section 378 of the IPC. Hence, although identity information is within the sort of binary data signals of zeros and ones, governed by streams of electronic waves like electricity, Section 378 cannot be read to incorporate data or fraud.

PUNISHMENT FOR IDENTITY THEFT :

Section 66 C of the IT ACT 2000 :

Any person fraudulently or dishonestly make use of the electronic signature, password or the other unique identification feature of the other person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which can reach three years and shall even be susceptible to fine with may reach rupees one lakh.

CONCLUSION FROM CROSS CULTURAL LEGAL SYSTEMS 

Although, the info protection laws in India aren’t very strong at the present but the proposed Personal Data Protection Bill may be a positive step towards implementing stricter data protection laws. it’s supported the ecu Union Data Privacy Directive of 1996 and applies to both the govt also because the private companies.

Following are the recommendations which will be implemented in India to form the laws regarding fraud simpler.

  • Making amendment to this laws for imposing stricter punishment for aggravated sorts of fraud. The laws are often made victim friendly such he/she is in a position to get over the loss caused and providing the maximum amount restitution as possible. India can check out the laws in U.S. which has incorporated the above ideas in the sort of two legislation.Therefore, the victim must tend support, both for the immediate loss caused by fraud and for the aftermath of such crime
  • Cyber crime which happens at an outsized scale is usually transnational in nature. Various countries should co-operate using multilateral treaties so as to possess basic uniformity in terms of sharing cyber crime information.
  • Lastly, the govt must create awareness amongst consumers with reference to ways of protecting personal information and safe internet practices. Further they have to be educated about their rights and redressal mechanism available to them just in case of a fraud. To attenuate the harm and early detection of fraud.

Identity of thefts and laws in India gives an impression that by slight modification, as suggested, to the prevailing laws and its effective implementation, instances of fraud are often controlled. The loss caused to the victim can be mitigated as far as possible and by holding the intermediaries in charge of the info that they hold, data privacy are often upheld. The law and its implementation don’t seem to overlap. The implementation aspect lags behind the legislations, thanks to which truth efficiency of this law isn’t being achieved.


[1]https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/4-in-10-indians-have-experienced-identity-theft-report/articleshow/75029916.cms

[2]https://www.securitas.com/globalassets/india/files/about-us/news—related-documents/identity-theft-is-the-largest-contributor-to-fraud-in-india.pdf

[3] Avtar Singh v. State of Punjab AIR1965SC666

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