How and why to avoid unknown people on social media platforms

With recent arrest of a youth in Jharsuguda, Odisha; demerits of social media comes to fore

Bhubaneswar: Yesterday a 21-year old youth was arrested by Police from the Lakahnpur block of Jharsuguda, Odisha. He was finally arrested after somehow avoiding arrest for over a year.

He was accused of creating over 35 fake social media accounts and then using them to lure women into sending him nude pictures. These were then used for blackmailing the gullible women. If the poor women refused, he, in turn, created fake profiles with their nude pictures and phone numbers. The IT cell of Jharsuguda Police department helped in nabbing the culprit.

This incident is the most recent of the several such incidents that occurred in the past.

WHY:

For the very basic reason that this is for our personal safety. Nobody likes to get blackmailed. And we definitely must avoid all possible modes where we might end up getting blackmailed.

HOW:

Firstly we need to be extremely careful while accepting requests from unknown sources. There are some similar patterns these fake profiles follow.

Typically, the profile pictures and cover photographs on fake social media profiles have a low like count. i.e. Their profile picture will only have one or two likes and there will be no comments on them. You’ll also find that the fake female accounts have a much higher ratio of male friends, which is unusual.

Also if something is too good to be true, it most definitely is not true. Ask the opinion of friends or family before proceeding to accept the request.

SOMETHING ELSE TO KNOW:

The social media is filled with fake profiles of celebrities. And these are known to follow the same pattern. The first step is to follow any gullible fan. Next is to start chatting with them.  It all ends with the fans shelling out money for their beloved fake icons. These mostly result in bringing a bad name for the celebrities too.

It is very interesting that nowadays many real-world thefts have their roots in social media. Burglars are creating networks of fake profiles to target potential victims, as such connections allow them to uncover a variety of personal information about users and their whereabouts, making their homes an easier target.

The cases of Cyber extortion have also increased owing to excessive personal data available in social networking profiles, and this data is accessible to fake profiles in your friend list.

When we come across a fake profile, the first step is to report the same to the service provider like facebook or twitter or Instagram. Most of these Intermediaries/ Service Providers have a facility for reporting and blocking fake profiles.

FAKE ACCOUNT POLICY:

Impersonation, extortion are all violation of rules laid down by any popular social media platforms. The very first action upon detecting a fake account should be to report the said account. We should keep screenshots of our actions as further proof and then just go ahead and block the fake account.

POLICE IT CELLS:

If the above steps fail, as a general rule we must first contact the local police station. Depending on the severity of the crime, it will be investigated by a special cyber crime investigation cell.

IPC STIPULATIONS

Over the rise of impersonation and extortion over social media platforms, the Indian Judicial system has put some very strong amendments into Indian Penal Code(IPC).

  • Over the rise of impersonation and extortion over social media platforms, the Indian Judicial system has put some very strong amendments into Indian Penal Code(IPC).
    • Section 384: Punishment for Extortion- Whoever commits extortion shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both. Under this provision, the punishment is of 3 years and this offence is a NON BAILABLE offence and triable in any Magistrate.
    • Section 504: Whoever intentionally insults, and thereby gives provocation to any person, intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause him to break the public peace, or to commit any other offence, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
    • Section 509: Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and also with fine

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