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Don’t answer video calls from strangers: Cops to senior citizens | Kolkata News | #cybercrime | #computerhacker


Amid the rising incidents of cybercriminals targeting senior citizens, Kolkata Police has urged elderly residents registered under the ‘Pronam’ project to “exercise greater caution” against emerging trends in cyber fraud, especially sextortion — “the latest trend in cybercrime”.

Cyber police station, Kolkata, Inspector Shukla Sinha Ray said, “Sextortion is one of the most common cybercrime these days. We get a lot of complaints. We have even received complaints from many reputed people.”

Asking Pronam members to avoid falling prey to such calls, Ray said, “Don’t receive video calls from strangers to prevent such crimes.”

The city police on Tuesday organised an awareness programme on cybercrime to sensitise more than 20,000 Pronam members (all senior citizens) at PTS Auditorium.

“Sometimes even if one is not interested but answers a video call and disconnects as soon as sees some obscene activity. By then, they (cybercriminals) record your face displayed on your mobile screen and start blackmailing you. Many people had paid perpetrators fearing losing their social image,” a cyber cell officer said.

Festive offer

“It’s sextortion where a predator demands credit cards for keeping the victim’s sexual images private. In such cases, victims feel devastated, embarrassed, hopeless and isolated. Many of them don’t know who to turn to and end up paying money. The accused are not interested in damaging your reputation, their target is your money. So, block unknown numbers and don’t answer video calls from such numbers,” the officer told the members.

The officer said, “Perpetrators target the opposite sex. They make video calls during odd hours and if one picks the call, perpetrators deceive and manipulate them to engage in explicit activity, which they secretly record. They then disclose that they have made a video and threaten to post clips online if the victim doesn’t pay them.”

Cyber cell officers informed senior citizens about how cybercriminals keep changing their working methods. “Sometimes they use an Aadhaar card; sometimes they say your electricity bill has not been paid, and forward you a link to pay the electricity bill. So, stay alert and use only genuine websites,” officers said.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Administration) Ashish Biswas said, “Cybercriminals especially target senior citizens. So, they should stay alert as it can help prevent the crime. If anyone becomes a victim, don’t panic, police are always there to help you.”

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First published on: 20-12-2023 at 03:25 IST

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