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Extortionists threaten to leak browsing info, Kolkata police rule out data leak

Several Kolkatans received e-mails asking them to pay in dollars to prevent their private browsing moments from becoming public

Monalisa Chaudhuri | Published 21.09.22, 07:10 AM
Fraudsters often play on the ‘psychology of common people’ and try to threaten them with their private moments, said an officer.

Fraudsters often play on the ‘psychology of common people’ and try to threaten them with their private moments, said an officer.

Representational picture

An email demanding money with the threat that failure to pay will lead to circulation of one’s “private browsing history” on social media has emerged as another way to dupe people, police said.

Several Kolkatans have received similar e-mails asking them to pay in dollars to prevent their private browsing moments from becoming public, the police said. 

“These are phishing emails meant to scare people and extort money from them,” said an officer.

A city businessman received a similar email on Saturday.

“The email said the sender has complete access to all the devices which I use to browse the Internet and that he (or she) had been monitoring all my activities on the Net. The email also mentions that during one such session of spying into my email, he has managed to install a Trojan virus in the operating system of my devices which I have been using to log into my email account,” said S. Saraogi, the businessman.

The email mentioned that all personal browsing activities would be released on social media if $1,500 were not paid.

Officers of Kolkata police said several other people in the city got such mails.

“If someone receives an email threatening to make private browsing history public, he or she has to understand the feasibility of such claims,” said an officer of the cyber police station.

“If someone claims that he or she has access to your private browsing history, it means that person has access to the IP address of your device at the moment when the purported browsing happened. This is technically almost impossible unless the person physically possesses the device.”

Fraudsters often play on the “psychology of common people” and try to threaten them with their private moments, said another officer.

“Even if someone has never browsed through a pornographic site, he or she gets nervous after receiving an email like this. But before making any payment, one should realise that such access to one’s device is not possible.”

In a similar type of fraud that is often being reported to the police, people are getting WhatsApp video calls from unknown numbers.

Once they accept the calls, screenshots of the conversation are captured.

The caller’s picture is replaced with a nude photograph and then the screenshots are used to extort money from those who received the calls.

Last updated on 21.09.22, 07:10 AM
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