Introduction- Most of our lives are public today on Social Media while many are flamboyant and okay with sharing everything some are really concerned about their profiles and who they connect with, most of the cybercrimes are either done by fraudsters or by someone you know in the close circle. It could be your friend, relative, employee, colleague, your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend. It is essential to have your privacy settings have to be set in such a way that individuals you are not connected don’t get to see a lot of your personal information. Secondly, everything doesn’t necessarily have to go on social media.
Remember, it’s very difficult to remove the viral content on Social Media so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Cybercrimes are many, but here are some of the most common type of Social Media Crimes that I often come across:
Types of Social Media Crimes Faced By Women:
1. Profile Hacking- Profile hacking happens when, as a user, you are not able to log in to your account. Someone has complete control of your account and has changed all the credentials.
How to avoid your profile from hacking on Facebook:
• Ensure that your password is a mixture of words and special characters. Don’t have the same passwords for various social media accounts. Most girls try to have same password for all their social media channels. They try to keep it simple so that they could remember. Have multiple passwords for different accounts and try to use password manager in order to remember them.
• Log out every time you login from a device that is unfamiliar to you or not in use. Most case hacking takes place in this case, people tend to update something funny so that people can make fun of you creating an embarrassing scenario for you.
2. Photo Morphing:
Photo morphing is a special effect that allows a person to morph or change one image or shape into another without any difficulty. As per the 4th quadrant of 2017, there is roughly around 3.2 Billion images shared every day. It is easy for a hacker to use your images, morph it and then use it for porn sites or blackmailing for financial/sexual gains.
You can’t stop anyone from morphing. If your images are publicly available, people can easily access them and make use of them to morph. Every popular male and female celebrity are probably photo-shopped and used by most porn sites to satisfy sexual fantasies. You never know, when someone take your photographs and use the
Tips to follow to be safe from photo morphing:
• Facebook has strong privacy settings which protect your account and things you share on it. Don’t add strangers, people who are mutual friends (unless and until you know them). Identify fake profiles or pages that are sending you request or asking you to follow them.
To keep your profile safe you shouldn’t allow people to see photos tagged by your friends, you can have control over them and take a call on photos before it goes all public.
• In case you are receiving threats or your friends are receiving any videos/images of yours immediately report it to the police. Police today is slowly getting charged with respect to growing cybercrimes.
3. Offer and Shopping Scams :
You would often come across messages, post which would say ‘Click on the link to claim the offer’ or ‘spin the wheel to win.’ These offers would generally ask you to forward the message to another 20 people once you have registered in order to get the code or coupon. You won’t get coupons but the host would get your personal information.
Tips to follow to be safe from Offer and Shopping Scams:
• The simplest thing to do is to make a quick check of the promotion/deal of the brand or the organization of their social media page/their homepage.
• There are chances were the hacker would have made a fake profile. In such instances check is the site has a secured https://. Also check how well the website is made and if the tone of communication is too sloppy.
• Don’t buy fake social media followers as they are more likely to get your credit card details and later use it or ask you to share your id and password to get you genuine followers –
– Do not transfer money or give in card details if the discounts are too-steep, or have poor reviews, or unclear refund policies.
– A lot of people trust offers like shown below and end up shopping and getting no discount.
– Trust your instincts and lodge a complaint if you ever think you are being scammed. But remember, this is the mostly not so entertained complaints of the internet world. So try to be as secure as you can when it comes to online shopping.
4. Romance and Dating Scams : –
There are people out there who would connect to you on social media, interact with you, and persuade you to move to a different form of communication through various excuses. Once they realize that you are falling for them, they would send you small gifts to show you that it’s same on either side. After a point the romantic period would start declining and they would start asking for monetary help in the form of recharge, booking flight tickets to meet and the list only grows.
Tips to follow to be safe from Romance and Dating Scams:
• Don’t accept friend requests from random people. Don’t reply to messages to people who are not in your friend list. Facebook generally warns people when they get messages from people who are not in their friend list. Do not chat with anyone and everyone especially someone you don’t know.
• If the fraudster is calling you to some place, alone to give you something or asking you to go on a date then don’t go.
• Don’t transfer your card or bank details with anybody at any cost. If somebody is threatening you, report about it to the police.
• Don’t strip or send your nudes through digital.
Now look at the images below on asking people who they find more genuine, they raised hands for Anusaya because she has about 2000+ friends and also photograph of Sai Baba. But the truth us both the profiles are fake and I found them on one of the Sex Groups on Facebook that I happen to come across during my research. That group had about 5000+ members and since most of them want to chat and talk about ‘sex’ they were fake.
5. Information Theft :
Informational theft occurs when an imposter identifies key pieces of personally identifiable information like social security, driving license number in order to impersonate someone else. Many people tend to store passwords or bank details on their email. Many people try to have very private conversation on Facebook or Instagram messengers. Businesswomen are also more likely to be at the risk of information theft especially with respect to her organization.
Women bloggers these days are faced by plagiarism of various types. When they try to open their business page on Facebook for the first time, there are chances that their competitors would already have promoted bad things to bring down their reputation.
Tips to follow to be safe from Information Theft:
• If you have a name which is common differentiate it with something that people know would connect to your business.
• Ensure that you get the right SEO and report your business page through Facebook India.
• It is possible to merge pages on Facebook, so you can merge the fake page with yours and claim that you are the official owner of the page.
• Ensure that you don’t store credit card details and crucial passwords on Social Media messengers too.
• When you use email extensions on chrome, beware they are genuine one as they are reading through your emails and have access to all the data.
7. Cyber Bullying :
Posting any kind of humiliating content on the social media or sending vulgar messages online, or threatening to commit any act of violence, or stalking by means of calls, messages or threatening of child pornography is called as cyberbullying. There are many Indian laws that can allow a woman to deal with this and with the help of Indian police, you can sort this particular issue.
Women tend to fall for this scam on OLX, where the buyers try to give amazing offers. For example: iPhone X for Rs.25,000 and many do the advance transfer to make a booking and surprise their husbands. But, once the sellers get the advance, they tend to abscond. These guys will communicate genuinely till they get the required money.
Tips to follow to stay safe from cyberbullying:
• Approach the police when you are getting harassed online.
• Do not sit idle as that would only make the bully think that you are scared and won’t be of any harm to them.
Dr. Abid Hussain, Associate Professor, School of Computer Applications, Career Point University, Kota