KOLKATA: Hacking of social media accounts, creation of identical accounts, and cloning by cybercriminals have increased in the last year, and even cops have been targeted. Senior IPS officer Vivek Sahay, who is the West Bengal government’s director of security, became the latest victim of Facebook account cloning.
Sahay on Monday said that his Facebook account had been “cloned” and that the hacker was duping people for money. He revealed the information in a social media post and stated that he had notified the Kolkata Police’s Cyber Crime Cell.
“Someone has cloned my account and has been requesting money from the phone number listed below. Please be cautious, as advised by cyber people,” he wrote.
According to Sahay, cyber experts told him that the cloning of his Facebook account has nothing to do with his password or profile.
The gang created an exact clone of a popular Facebook account or public figure. Then they start sending friend requests to his contact and through messenger ask for money citing some emergency. Experts claim if someone finds a cloned account they must inform their contact that they should not pay anything.
The IPS officer has since changed his Facebook profile picture and has warned people not to accept any requests in his name from a social media account with a different profile picture (which does not match with the profile picture of his Facebook account).
Sahay made headlines in March after the Election Commission removed him from his position as acting director of security for Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee following lapses that resulted in Banerjee’s leg injury in Nandigram on March 10.
It is not just policemen but criminals are targeting any public figure like politicians, lawyers, social workers etc.
- Never pay money online if someone is requesting for urgent monetary help. It can be a fraud.
- Double check with the person if he is actually in distress and requires any assistance.
- Chatting with person is not good enough as authentication as chances are high that the account is hacked or spoofed.