Online Dating Vulnerabilities
As majestic as it may seem, online dating brings vulnerabilities to the platter. Though online dating is very convenient as individuals do not have to leave their homes or workplaces to date. Matchmaking sites are open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, allowing daters to remotely scan profiles at their convenience, it also keeps you anonymous, online dating allows customers to experience new forms of interaction, such as live chats, instant messaging, flirtatious emoticons, nudges, and winks, online dating sites serve up ‘perfect matches’ quickly by using advanced search engines, ‘scientific’ matching services, and proprietary algorithms, dating sites instantly find compatible matches based on values, personality styles, attitudes, interests, race, religion, gender; still it is not a very good option to trust someone you met online, without getting a proper background check. Background check here indicates like getting to know to their family, having a copy of their aadhar card. 10 % of online dating profiles are fake, 90 % are not alive anymore. Indians have lost approx 1 billion to these scammers. And 57% of users lie to each other about their demographic details.
These predators will try to lure you romantically, gain your affection and trusrt, and then use your data against you or ask for money stating some very genuine seeming reason. The Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) 2007 Internet Crime Report found that online dating fraud was one of the most commonly reported complaints in the ever rising internet fraud claims.
There are many types of cyber crime in the world of online dating:
Internet identity theft: using somebody’s photo and impersonating that individual to build an attractive profile and scam people. Often, Facebook profile pictures and images from other social media are used for the purpose. This is punishable under section 66C of the IT Act, 2000. Whoever, fraudulently or dishonestly make use of the electronic signature, password or any other unique identification feature of any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine with may extend to rupees one lakh.
Blackmail and harassment: online dating hacks reveal a ton of information about the user. This information can later on be used to blackmail an individual. Membership in an LGBT dating website, for example, could easily become a reason for blackmail, especially if the person has not told his parents and friends about it. Punishable under 503 and 506 of the IPC. Whoever threatens another with any injury to his person, reputation or property, or to the person or reputation of any one in whom that person is interested, with intent to cause alarm to that person, or to cause that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution of such threat, commits criminal intimidation. Whoever commits, the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
People use the pictures of young and pretty girls:for escort services and then extort money and blackmail them in the name of public shaming and stigma attached to avail escort services. Punishable under 66D of the IT Act. whoever, by means for any communication device or computer resource cheats by personating, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees.
Venue promotion scams: Many fake profiles are active only to lure customers to a specific place for an expensive date, after the date is done; your match is nowhere to be seen.
How can you protect yourself from these crimes?
Try not to go for online dating, even if you do keep the following things in mind:
- Do not send money to anyone however genuine they seem.
- Do not share anything for which you can be blackmailed like data, private pictures, etc.
- Stay away from webcam chat as much as possible.
- Don’t open links sent by someone whom you have not met or trust, the link can redirect to porn sites, webcam or malware installer in your system.
- You can search the Google for their images to check if they resemble to some other account.
By Sukriti Verma