Cybercrime is very common under the guise of online friendships. Assistant director Asif Iqbal Chaudhry of Cyber Crime Wing of FIA took to Twitter to remind people of how they land themselves into trouble by falling victim to online frauds.
The recent epidemic of private images and videos leaking seems to have piqued the attention of Chaudhry who shared his two cents on its prevention.
Criminals might befriend victims online by using a fake identity and then persuade them to perform sexual acts in front of their webcam, often by using an attractive woman to entice the victim to participate. These women may have been coerced into these actions using financial incentives or threats.
As the friendship grows with time, the sense of trust and comfort allows a criminal to coerce the victim into creating and sending an image. This is how the cycle of victimization begins. Any private image, video, or even webcam video can be recorded by the criminals who then threaten to share them with the victim’s friends and family. The victim is made to feel extremely ashamed and embarrassed and, tragically, even take their own lives after being targeted.
Who is behind it?
At least according to Chaudhry, these criminals are mostly based overseas. It is a low-risk way for them to make money and they can reach many victims easily online. More so, both men and women can be victims of this crime, either by being blackmailed or by being coerced into carrying out sexual acts. The criminals can become vicious and non-stop with their demands, harassment, and threats. Many feel like there is no way out of the situation.
What to do?
Awareness and sensible safety practices online can put an end to this exploitation. Moreover, in case you fall victim to it, you should be willing to ask for help. You should be selective about what you share online. If your social media accounts are open to everyone, a predator may be able to figure out a lot of information about you.
Be aware that people can pretend to be anything or anyone online. Videos and photos are not proof that a person is who they claim to be. Images can be altered or stolen. Any content you create online; whether it is a text message, photo, or video, it can be made public. Remember that once you send something, you do NOT have any control over where it goes next.
Just recently, a Facebook friendship with a foreign woman costed a Pakistani man Rs2.7 lacs. Beware, guys!
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