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How Internet fraudsters dupe teenagers

Last updated on: July 7, 2012 09:05 IST

How Internet fraudsters dupe teenagers

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Govind Rammurthy, eScan

Being part of various social networking sites has become an obsession for teenagers today. It is exactly this obsession cyber-bullies take advantage of.

A major concern today when teens use social networking sites is the increasing landscape of cyber threats.

Desire to let the world know how different you are as an individual, curiosity to know people's reaction on your thoughts, inadequate knowledge about Internet threats, inappropriate understanding about the importance of sharing personal information, adding strangers to have a great fan following or any such reason paves the way for innocent teens being trapped in cyber scams.

It's nothing but being less attentive to Internet safety measures that lead them to risks. Just that handful of their personal information on these sites brings trouble for them.

Teens create their profile on social networking sites. They try to complete their profile with 100 per cent of information required. It is useless to have a profile on social media website with no activity on it. Hence, almost every event of day is updated on these sites. Every beautiful picture is shared on these sites. Every emotion is expressed on these sites.

The author is chairman and managing director of eScan, a company that offers anti-virus, anti-spam, content security and network intrusion prevention solutions.


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No doubt for cyber criminals, a teen's profile is an ocean of information -- personal and about their personality.

Cyber criminals use the personal information for the purpose of identity theft. The pictures shared can be used to morph images and post them online as a form of bullying. In addition, emotions expressed as updates, help criminals analyse what kind of an individual one is. This helps them to succeed in their cyber-bullying plans.

Usage of e-mails is quite common not only amongst teens but amongst any Internet user. Hence, they are vulnerable target for spammers and phishing scams. Cyber criminals send spam e-mails with attractive deals luring them to shop online or lure them to visit a web site with some interesting information.

Many times fraud e-mails are sent by fraudsters posing as legitimate people or representative of a government/ bank to obtain personal or financial information. Many a times spam e-mail includes sexually suggestive or such offensive material or links infected with malware that could be harmful if downloaded.


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Today, cyberbullying is the most common Internet crime faced by teenagers. Cyber criminals target them with threats, inappropriate images or content, etc.

At times, cyberbullying is carried out in the form of online love relationships. Teens may not even realise that the person on the other end is just playing with their emotions. It may be for fun or for some kind of benefit, many a times financial.

Another major concern is online harassment.

Anyone who is not is good terms with an individual can befriend the person online and create a havoc to seek revenge by threatening or spreading false rumours. This is easy because the Internet offers anonymity and anyone can be anyone. Teens face such situations many a times while chatting, wherein they may be forcefully exposed to inappropriate language, harassed, or even threatened.

Such situations make teens suffer from humiliations. Often there are cases heard of teens getting into depression and later harming themselves.


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