Bhanu P Lhumi
Tribune press service
Shimla, October 3
Complaints of sextortion and sexually explicit content in cyberspace have increased by 250% over the past 21 months, but FIRs were only filed by 3.33% of victims, with 96.67% of complainants avoiding it for fear of social stigma.
According to data obtained by the police, there was not even a single complaint about sextortion and sexually explicit content in 2017, 2018 and 2019. However, 80 complaints were received in 2020 and the number rose to 250 In the first nine months of 2021 to September 25, but only 11 of 330 complainants (3.33%) showed up to file an FIR.
The most common practice adopted by cybercriminals is to chat and befriend people, gain their trust, get intimate and blackmail, said IG, Cyber Crime (CID), Atul Fulzele .
Older men are targeted through attractive Facebook profiles of women to encourage them to engage more and complainants turn to the police when blackmailed, he said, adding that cybercriminals operate out of Mewar and the Nagar region of Rajasthan, in addition to Haryana.
People are approached through social networking sites and phone numbers are exchanged. Gradually, nudity creeps into the chats that are recorded onscreen by criminals and hijacked for blackmail. Other complaints included the creation of false profiles and false identification, virtual harassment, transmission of sexually explicit material and blackmail by morphing photographs.