Online Scams are Increasing and You Aren’t Safe

Representational Photo

By Khalid Mustafa

WE are aware about the increasing number of scams whether a text Scam, direct call scam, Video Call Scam, email Scam or Direct Sextortion or any other mode of grabbing money from the people. The solutions to these are obvious but we continue to remain oblivious.

The way we see an increase in these crimes, it is not the end but a beginning in J&K. Many among us have lost a lifetime of earnings and some have even lost their lives at the hands of these scams.

Being a victim of such scams can also lead to suicides when people face heavy losses and blackmailing.

Scams are of different types and not all are technically sound to understand the things.

So what is a scam? 

Scam simply means “fraud” which means a dishonest or illegal plan to grab money or even disrespect anyone. There are various scams depending on the scammers. Here are a few:

SMS Scam – Almost every individual is using phones nowadays as it is the blessing of technology and we are getting benefited. But the problem is when we get SMS in direct inbox regarding prize & lottery, Loan Approvals, Business Investments, 5G SIM swap, Work from home job offers, Electricity disconnection, Credit Card dispatch etc. The caller might say you were “selected” for an offer or that you’ve won a lottery. Do not respond to these and lodge a complaint in case of prolonged trouble.

Video Call Scam – Some time we may get a video call from an unknown over messenger or WhatsApp depending on the target users of the scammers. They will pretend to be some girl posing nude and once you begin to watch, they record everything and will blackmail you for posting contents on websites and will threaten you to share the videos with your known contacts (family and friends too).

Do not respond to these at all. Since there is shame associated with it, one might not even report it. One may even be blackmailed into paying huge sums of money. Many of your acquaintances may already have fallen prey to this without you knowing.

If it happens to you, it’s best to report it to the police immediately.

Email Scam – In the same manner like a SMS, you may get emails from unknown email ids regarding lottery, opening of free bank accounts, 0% interest finance, car extended warranties, job offers etc. Kindly DON’T RESPOND to such emails. They are bogus emails and mostly get automatically visible in your scam folders.

Direct Sextortion – Sextortion is the practice of extorting money or sexual favours from someone by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity. This crime is currently at the higher graph.

Scammers will approach you by direct phone calls, texts, emails as your opposite gender and will offer you sexual favors (online over video call) or at some designated scammers place installed with cameras and other scamming members. Once the victim accepts the offers, they record the sexual activities and blackmail the victim for money or for any other favours like for drugs. In fact, recently in some districts of Kashmir, police cracked various sextortion cases and society is thankful for the appreciable work.

How do scammers get your number? 

Scammers get many numbers from social media, random number generators and dark web. As a precaution, never share your phone number/email ids on social media. Never add yourself to any unknown WhatsApp groups, telegraph channels etc. Never submit your details on any unknown shopping websites (unauthorized), avoid synchronizing your phone (contacts, photos, videos) on web drives, email accounts and you can backup on portable hard drives and keep that safe.

Not everyone among us and in your family will be well versed about such things and will be a user of phones and emails especially our elders and teenagers at home. It’s our prime responsibility to discuss and raise awareness about these scams. ln any case, if any family or family member is trapped as a victim, support them instead of teasing or being harsh.

  • Author Is Management & IT Professional Presently IT-Operations Manager @ HK Hyundai [email protected]

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