SOCIAL MEDIA CRIMES
More and more people, regardless of age and gender, are signing up for profiles on online social networks for connecting with each other in this virtual world. Some have hundreds or thousands of friends and followers spread across multiple profiles. But at the same time there is proliferation of fake profiles also. Fake profiles often spam legitimate users, posting inappropriate or illegal content. Fake profiles are also created while misrepresenting some known person to cause harassment to him/her.
The most common targeted websites/apps for creating ‘Fake Profiles’ are as under:
Below are the common crimes being committed on or as a result of Social Media:-
1. Online Threats, Stalking, Cyber bullying
The most commonly reported and seen crimes that occur on social media involve people making threats, bullying, harassing, and stalking others online. While much of this type of activity goes unpunished, or isn’t taken seriously, victims of these types of crimes frequently don’t know when to call the police. If you feel threatened by a statement made online about you, or believe that the threat is credible, it’s probably a good idea to consider calling the police.
2. Hacking and Fraud
Although logging into a friend’s social media account to post an embarrassing status message may be acceptable between friends, but technically, can be a serious crime. Additionally, creating fake accounts, or impersonation accounts, to trick people (as opposed to just remaining anonymous), can also be punished as fraud depending on the actions the fake/impersonation account holder takes.
3. Buying Illegal Things
Connecting over social media to make business connections, or to buy legal goods or services may be perfectly legitimate. However, connecting over social media to buy drugs, or other regulated, controlled or banned products is probably illegal.
4. Vacation Robberies
Sadly, one common practice among burglars is to use social media to discover when a potential victim is on vacation. If your vacation status updates are publicly viewable, rather than restricted to friend groups, then potential burglars can easily see when you are going to be away for an extended period of time.
5. Creation of fake profile
Creation of fake profile of a person and posting offensive content including morphed photographs on the fake profile
6. Fake online friendship
Developing online friendship over social media (with no real-life familiarity and using the emotional connect to trick you in transferring funds on some pretext such as medical emergency, legal troubles, problems in a foreign country etc.
1. Block profiles from public searches.
2. Restrict who can find you via online search.
3. Limit what people can learn about you through searching on net.
4. Log out after each session.
5. Don’t share social media credentials.
6. Don’t accept friend requests from unknowns.
7. Don’t click suspicious links.
8. Keep the privacy settings of your social media profile at the most restricted levels, esp. for public/others
9. Remember that information scattered over multiple posts, photographs, status, comments etc. may together reveal enough about you to enable a fraudster to steal your identity and defarud you. So, apply maximum caution while sharing anything online.
Advise for victims
1. Immediately send blocking/deleting request to the concerned service provider through their support or helpdesk with regards to the fake profile.
2. Immediately send an email or message to all your contacts from any email/account not to respond to the fake profile in any case/issue/matter.
How to make a complaint
1. Take a screenshot of the alleged fake profile wherein URL of the said profile is clearly visible.
2. Lodge a complaint in your nearest Police Station describing complete incidence along with the above mentioned documents.
3. Save the soft copy of all above mentioned documents in soft form and provide them to the Investigating Officer on a CD-R and also give hard copy.