There has been a rise in online frauds and blackmailing during the lockdown, police and cyber experts said here on Wednesday, as they cautioned teenagers to be careful with how they use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
The message came during a webinar organised by the Gautam Buddh Nagar Police for children above the age of 13 years as part of the ongoing “Mission Shakti” initiative in the district that focuses on checking crimes against women.
Students from 70 schools and colleges participated in the programme where they were told about various forms of online crimes, including bullying, stalking, fake accounts, sexual extortion, honey traps, by cyber security expert Rakshit Tandon, while Deputy Commissioner of Police (Women and Child Safety) Vrinda Shukla and District Cyber Cell chief Ankur Aggarwal hosted the session.
“There has been an increase in online frauds during the lockdown that was enforced due to the coronavirus outbreak. There have been instances of cloning of Facebook profiles where frauds use the fake profile to seek money from victim’s contacts,” Tandon told students, many of whom were joined by their parents and teachers.
“Another form of online trouble is ‘honey trap’ where an unknown social media user befriends a person and engages the user in personal conversation and over a period of time gains their trust to persuade them into sharing personal pictures or videos or crucial information which is later used to blackmail the user. Such cases also rose during the lockdown,” he said.
Noting that “digital footprints cannot be erased”, he stressed that users should frequently change their passwords and use privacy tools on social media to keep risk of fraud and harm at bay.
Citing the infamous Bois Locker Room incident in Delhi and a recent case of indecency by a student during an online class, Tandon said security agencies have identified the culprits and busted the myth that anonymous profiles or usernames cannot be tracked.
The teenagers were also asked not to share obscene or objectionable content online and instead report it on the social media platforms and inform the local agencies, like police.
The Gautam Buddh Nagar Police said the session was organised to raise awareness among the teenagers regarding cyber crimes and its forms, and prevent them from falling trap to them.
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