‘Kashmir might’ve a lower cybercrime rate as compared to other states, but the time demands that one should follow online protocols and guidelines to stay safe.’
By Khalid Mustafa
AT a time when every one of us is grappling with pervasive pandemic, people are suffering from a growing worry inside their homes by the name of online fraud.
Working from home and increasing online shopping presently have made people more prone to electronic theft.
Online fraudsters usually strike when any of us place an order for necessary items and gadgets by using the modernized technology benefits like online shopping, classified advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook, OLX, Quikr, etc.
But you never know that someone, somewhere—sitting in a room—having a cup of coffee might be a sneaking fraudster.
He may be eyeing to steal your money, and make you suffer from various other means of cybercrime.
The online felony has increased with the advancement of widespread use of the internet. Cybercrime has today become a real threat to society.
To tackle it, Information Technology Act, 2000 was introduced to recognize, mitigate and prevent these threats.
But as of now, there’s no specific definition of cybercrime.
It can be loosely described as any illegal or criminal activity done at behest of computers as the primary means of operation.
The very modus operandi makes it a white-collar crime.
Attack on e-Wallet
From some time now, the government is getting hundreds of complaints regarding cybercrimes—especially e-stealing by means of fraudulent online advertisements.
To lure customers, these online fraudsters sell products on lowest rates to grab money.
In real sense, such products or sellers don’t exist. They’re criminals operating behind a deceptive screen performing cybercrimes.
But customers do get attracted to the lowest price-tags, and become ready to pay online for the products.
In this process, they only lose their hard-earned money.
In many cases, the sellers provide you the information in such a way that you completely trust them and move ahead with the e-shopping.
The sellers sometimes ask for advance payments, bank transfers, and QR codes.
They lure gullible customers telling them that s/he is presently posted / transferred on duty—mostly faking as defense person—and needs payment in advance.
They cook this story, to make you believe that they can’t be available physically, and thus forcing you for online transaction.
Online Hunting Grounds
Facebook, Olx and Quikr have today emerged as the favourite hunting grounds for these fraudsters. After they’ve weaponised these platforms, one needs to be extra vigilant regarding any financial engagement there.
Apart from encroaching these social platforms, many other means of cybercrimes include scam technical support, phishing, credit card frauds, bank robbery, illegal downloading, industrial espionage, child pornography, online harassment, kidnapping children via chat rooms, scams, cyber terrorism, creation and/or distribution of viruses, spam, and so on.
Defence for Offence
In order to check and counter these nefarious online activities, various cybercrime units have started awareness campaign.
Among other things, they exhort netizens to shop from the authentic websites only.
In case of any doubt, people are being encouraged to call on cyber helplines for website verifications.
The idea, Cyber Cell tells people, is to stay ahead of fraudsters by smartly tackling any obnoxious online activity.
Neither one should disclose ATM card number, CVV, ATM PIN, nor go through advance payment mode on classified websites.
Always seek for complete physical address of the company registered and check online about the company existence.
In case of any suspicion, one can make a complaint anytime to the crime investigation department either offline or online.
Avoid being victim
Even though there has been a spurt in cybercrimes in the valley, one should’ve a resolve to rise above the victimhood.
Falling prey is easy, but staying alert is the need of the hour.
Kashmir might’ve a lower cybercrime rate as compared to other states, but the time demands that one should follow online protocols and guidelines to stay safe.
Eventually, like with COVID-19, we’ve to learn to live with this online menace by taking all precautionary measures.
- The author is an IT & Management Expert and can be reached at [email protected]
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