Be wise, be safe – The Hindu


Today, more than ever, the Internet is a necessity. But there are dangers with every click…

February 8 alone is not Safer Internet Day… everyday is. Every year there is a surge in cyber crimes against children due to the huge amount of time that is spent online for educational and communication purposes. According to Child Rights and You (CRY), “There is limited understanding among caregivers, educators and society about the risks children may face online. They need to be made to understand what children need to know so that the former can guide the latter appropriately.

Be wise, be safe

Think about these

While talking with her teacher, 10-year-old Tara* casually mentioned that she spoke to a boy she met on Facebook. He had sent her a friend request and she accepted, despite not knowing him. He seemed friendly but, after a while, started asking her personal questions and pestering her for photos. She sent him one and he started bombarding her with requests to meet in person. His teacher asked him if his parents knew about it. His response: “Oh no. We don’t talk about stuff like that at home. They don’t use social media so wouldn’t know what I’m talking about. Tara is unaware of the danger of arranging to meet someone she doesn’t know.

Karthik* thought it would be fun to upload a video of a classmate being beaten at school. When a complaint was filed with the police, it was registered as a case of cyberbullying. In another case of cyberbullying, Rithu* was constantly shamed on social media, which made her depressed and disinterested in her studies. Eventually, she left the site.

* Tarun asked his parents for a new phone. Her parents said it was not possible due to their strained finances. Determined to get one, Tarun replied to an email from an unknown source, advertising a half-price phone. He replied with his personal details, his mother’s credit card details and other sensitive data. Immediately, the cyber criminals used the information to withdraw money from the bank account.

While a boon in many ways, the internet is also fraught with pitfalls, ranging from identity theft, online shopping scams, giveaways, quizzes, contests, and more.

You have been tricked

Here are some common online scams you should be aware of:

Be wise, be safe

Phishing: You receive an email from what appears to be a real company. There is a link or attachment to click on. This takes you to a fake website asking for sensitive information such as your card details, UPI code and other bank details. This gives them access to your money. Clicking on the link may also lead to virus attack.

Online shopping scams: Not all shopping portals are genuine. Some are fake and you never receive the product you paid for.

Identity theft: Your personal information is stolen and scammers apply for personal loans, car loans or even a credit card in your name. This makes you legally liable.

Work from home scam: Fake companies advertise jobs with lucrative salaries. Anyone applying must purchase a work kit. Once the money is paid, the employers disappear.

Be wise, be safe

Lottery Fraud: You receive an email with a message that you have won a lottery. But, to receive your winnings. you are redirected to a website to make a payment. When you do, your credit card details are stolen.

Be wise, be safe

Tax scams: Taxpayers, eligible for refunds, receive messages claiming to be from the tax department asking for personal data so that they can send the refund.

Loyalty Points Fraud: Credit card holders are getting calls from people who claim they can help them redeem their credit points. They want the card details and the OTP that gives them access to your bank account.

Fraud on online marketplaces: Imposters put goods up for sale and trick people into buying them.

The statistics say

An online survey of 16,254 adult internet users (18+) in 16 countries reveals that in the past year most people who have fallen prey to fraudsters have lost money. Sensitive financial information continued to be at risk, as people continued to be tricked into downloading attachments or clicking on links. A positive trend was that more consumers were now aware of scams and therefore reluctant to disclose information.

Many children around the world say they have had negative experiences online. They have been cyberbullied, groomed, chatted with adults posing as children, viewed violent or explicitly sexual content, or downloaded a virus.

* Name changed


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