Overview :– As you all know online games are very popular nowadays, most of you would have played atleast one online game. Due to the Corona lockdown and later, many people have been defrauded by these online games resulting in loss of their money, property and peace of mind, thereby becoming debtors or have committed suicide or suffered mental depression. States are given the responsibility to legislate regarding “betting and gambling” in our constitution. Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and few other states had enacted laws to ban these online games but the respective state high courts have declared the Act/Ordinance illegal and have lifted the ban, currently the case is pending in the Supreme Court of India.
How Online games fraud works :–
Online games cheat us in the following ways –
• Through malware embedded in online game or via hacking the cybercriminal steals private information in our mobile and uses it to steal our money or blackmail us.
• These online games first get us addicted by helping us win first rounds and then make us lose when big amount is at risk, the player bets more amount to get back the lost money and end up losing all his savings and property. Some games delete or disable the account when you win big.
• Some online games, especially multiplayer online games induce you to buy tools such as hacks or keys or weapons or a game map to put you at a advantage over the opposite gamers.
• Cyber thieves target children who are playing online multiplayer games as fellow gamers, develop friendship with them and get your bank account, debit or credit card information from children or install malware embedded app and take control of your mobile or computer to rob money or steal information.
To protect yourself from Online games fraud:–
• Check the permissions of gaming apps, don’t grant any unnecessary or sensitive permissions like camera, contacts, sms, gallery and to your files.
• Keep a close eye on what kind of online games your kids play and with whom they play with.
• Keep your bank account, debit or credit card details hidden from your children or tell them not to disclose it for any reason to anyone and explain cybercrimes and consequences of disclosure.
• Remove any payment details stored from your Google or Apple Play Store and Google Play Services.
• If possible or if addiction cannot be controlled then use a different mobile, a mobile number and an e-mail not linked to any bank account for online games.
• Do not play games with or deal with suspicious or unknown persons and do not install any links or apps sent by them.
If you a victim of online games fraud :-
If you suspect fraud or that you have been cheated, immediately file a complaint by contacting Cyber Helpline number 1930 and immediately take a backup of your mobile or computer and do a factory reset. To protect people from the scourge of online games, the government should frame appropriate laws and regulations and also block suspicious games and get them removed from the playstore.
Legal Remedies available :-
The victim has the right to file an appeal in court for compensation for the wrong done to him under section 43A of the Information Technology Act of 2000, as this section covers the penalties and compensations for offences such as “damage to the computer, computer system, or computer networks, etc.”. Section 65 of the Act covers the punishment for the offences which involve “tampering with computer source documents”.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (“MeitY”) has introduced regulations primarily for online real money games, effective April 6, 2023. The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“IT Rules”), are amended to include these regulations, Amendments provide Central-level regulations, they do not replace the State-wise anti-gambling laws. Hence, State-wise action may continue notwithstanding the Amendments. Hope this may put some regulatory oversight over online games and thereby we can see in the reduction in online games frauds discussed above.