“Sir, My name is Shruti (name changed) and I am a resident of Patna. It has been sometime now that I have been getting vulgar and lewd phone calls on my mobile from strangers. I am shocked to see that someone has created a fake profile of mine on Orkut and have written several disgusting things about me on that profile. The profile also has my picture and mobile number. I come from a good family and do not want to disclose my identity. If my parents know about this, they will be disgraced. Please help me.”
“Sir, I am Amar (name changed) and I am sending you this mail in connection with a friend of mine. She is a good girl and does not want to get disclosed. Someone has created a fake ID of hers on Orkut and since then, strangers are calling on her mobile phone and talking vulgar things. The phone calls are increasing everyday. The profile also has her picture and mobile number. It is my request to you to bail her out of the problem. But she can’t come out in the open.”
For some young men rejected in love, revenge is in the form of the internet.
Social networking websites, otherwise an extremely popular medium by which to stay connected with friends and family, are being used by these rogue Romeos to get back at the women who have spurned them.
Over the past month, the cyber crime unit of Patna police has received 10 to 15 emails from girls who are being harassed by strangers posing vulgar queries and making lewd comments.
Unknown to the women, fake IDs have been created in their names on either Orkut or Facebook, two of the most popular social networking sites, projecting them as prostitutes and call girls.
These false IDs have their correct picture and contact number, making the girls vulnerable to the sexual predators on the prowl.
Lalit Narayan Sharma, the deputy superintendent of police (law and order), who also heads the cyber crime unit, said the police were investigating these cases, though no written complaint had been lodged by the women for fear of social stigma.
Sharma, however, added that the police would be able to do only this much and no further unless the women came out in the open and lodged a formal complaint.
“Over the past month, we have received these complaints from many girls via emails about fake ids being created in their names on social networking sites. In almost all these cases, the culprits are boys who have been spurned by these women,” the officer said.
Explaining the modus operandi, the officer said the pictures of the girls had been taken on mobile phones.
“These people just click the girls’ pictures and then create an Orkut or Facebook profile. These profiles have the names of the girls and their contact details. Also, in their profile, the culprits paste vulgar details like the amount of money one needs to have to take these girls. Once the profiles are created, calls start coming automatically,” Sharma said.
The police, he said, were trying to trace the IP address to help locate the computers from which these fake profiles have been created and to intimate the service provider.
“We have asked the complainants to let us know the website link of the networking site in the emails they sent to us. Once they do it, we will first verify whether or not it is fake and then contact Google to block these profiles,” Sharma said.
The officer pointed out that not lodging a formal complaint was a problem.
“We have requested the women to lodge a formal complaint so that more investigations can be carried out. We can get the IP address and further investigations can very well lead to the arrest of these culprits who can be booked under the IT Act. But unless the complaints are lodged, our hands are tied and we can just ask the service provider to block the IDs. The women don’t want to complain fearing a social backlash,” the officer said.
He said people were free to email any kind of cyber crime incidents to them at email@example.com.
“We are gearing up for this and will soon have some modern equipment to handle the different forms of cyber crimes,” Sharma said.