Police ask people to exercise caution when sharing personal details on the internet

Karthik*, 29, was on the verge of taking an extreme step as he was continuously threatened by an unknown woman on social media repeatedly for money. The well-educated professional was relieved only after police rendered assistance.

A few months ago, he ignored a friend request on Facebook from the woman from the Philippines. Later, he said he half-heartedly accepted the request. He and the woman had chats over Facebook Messenger and became friends. He went on to exchange intimate videos and pictures with her. The woman recorded his videos and started blackmailing him. A police officer said, “The fraudster had collected contacts of the victim from the social media account. She threatened that obscene videos would be sent out to his friends on his profile unless he paid money. He was forced to transfer ₹2 lakh to her online. However, the fraudster continued to demand ₹5 lakh.”

Immediately after the receipt of the complaint, the police officer said the cyber crime cell in T. Nagar acted swiftly. “We wrote to Facebook and disconnected the link between her and victim. We also alerted bank authorities about fraudulent transactions. Now there will be no further threat to the victim,” said the officer.

Rajaram*, another victim, was shocked when he received a threat mail from a stranger. The sender of the mail said that while he was watching porn videos, his browser started working as a remote desktop with a keylogger.

The fraudster threatened to circulate details of his activities to his contacts unless he paid $1,900 via Bitcoin within a day.

Vineet Kumar of Cyber Peace Foundation, Hyderabad, explaining yet another fraud executed via social media, said, “What the criminals do here is hack into the FB account of a particular person and access the entire friends’ list. They send messages through Messenger seeking money to meet urgent medical needs. The fraudster makes the victims pay through e-wallet.”

“Don’t accept friend requests from strangers unless the profile is verified and proper credentials are checked. Do not share any private photos or videos with unknown people on social media. In case of fraud, the victim should immediately approach the local police. We have a 24-hour helpline in T. Nagar,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, T. Nagar, D.N. Hari Prasad.

(* name changed)

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