Online Crime and Heartbreak – Part II

Hi Everyone! Hope you all are holding on tightly to all Corona precautions even though many countries have eased. Continuing with Part II of my blog post on online crimes, I’m sharing a few more types of crime that you may encounter. These can specially happen now when we all are rather vulnerable. Also we have more time.

Kindly note, my guest writer, Muhammad Asif, an expert on this subject i.e. cyber security, will share his knowledge with you in my next blog post. So, do not miss the next one!

You won a million dollars/Ruppees!

This was one of the oldest one. It has happened through mobile phone, as well as emails…. ‘congratulations! You are the winner. Kindly come over to our office to get the money.’ When you go, they say, please just pay Rs.25000 for some preliminary details, then we will send you the million dollar/rupees.

Of course!

Otherwise, you receive this email telling you how lucky you are. Naturally, in this day and age to receiving that prize is your dream come true. They will convince you it is true. You want to get convinced. You are the exception. As always. Allah has blessed you.

When you go through their ‘process’ they will take you on a wild goose chase. Once I just got after them in the end, the guy said, ‘this is what we do!’ That’s why we do it! They literally play on your vulnerability, your dreams.

There have been many comedy plays about it too. So, by now you know. Still they manage to get you!

Bank ‘schemes’ or scams?

As I don’t believe in interest, so I’m out of most of these. Still, once I had just returned from my bank, and I get a call from the bank’s PTCL number, the gentleman asked me details of my account. I immediately gave him a piece of my mind. I told him if you are from my bank you should have known. Why are you asking me? I slammed the phone. So, their phones can be hacked too. Though obviously their own staff maybe involved. Otherwise how did he know, I had just left the bank? God knows!

Once a person from a bank called me and told me not to fall for their innumerable ‘saving schemes.’ He said, ‘I feel that you have halal cash and you can’t afford to lose it.’

I personally know of a case where the saving scheme fleeced lacs of rupees, from the account holder in the garb of Islamic banking. When she held them up for it, everyone just shrugged their shoulders.

Most of their schemes are traps.

Specially, I want to narrate the case of a very influential and highly educated person I know, whose account got fleeced of around $2000, that too when he was travelling!

Then his phone stopped working as he reached UK. It turned out that the phone he had bought from an F 11 shop, in Islamabad had been a stolen phone, sold at the shop. So, there is a catch. When a stolen phone re-enters UK, it gets blanked out automatically! So, that is what happened to this friend. So, he lands on a trip and finds himself in this situation. Finally, he managed to sort out a few things, but can you imagine the problems he faced? No, he didn’t get his $2000 back!

Islamic or religious traps:

This has been the most gruesome one from time immemorial. You are made to believe that this is the ‘right’ way to go about things. In one case a North American guy trying to learn more about Islam from a girl. In this garb he got close to her, then wanted to convert. He did that, and then wanted to come to Pakistan to marry the girl. Luckily, he asked for cash from her, even though he put up a very opulent and ‘rich’ look. She ‘knew’ that something was very wrong. He of course said, ‘I’ll pay you the moment I reach.’

I’ve been told that North American men are the most notorious crooks in this art. Strangely enough the person’s circumstances will be quite similar to yours. If you are a widow, he will be a widower. His children will be needing a ‘mummy’. If you are divorced, he will be too. If you have a child, he will have two. Yes, so uncanny isn’t it? No! (you had yourself given all your information in your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.) Simple!

So, you feel you are so knowledgeable and this person genuinely is interested. Ha ha.

Red flags:

  • Person converts too quickly.
  • Keeps telling you how great/beautiful/ wonderful you are. Yes, he/she is a sycophant. Even the ugly pictures you post, he goes swooning over them.
  • Talks to you too often. Wants to connect with you most of the day and till late hours at night. (He is invading your thought processes, not allowing you time to think!) Then, he is there, first thing in the morning, last thing at night.
  • He will have ‘read’ all the material that you send him.
  • Will be taking ‘namaz breaks’.

What to do:

  • No matter how genuine he looks, do share the information he gives with your close friend and family members.
  • Do not be secretive.
  • Never meet the person, specially not alone or in a room. Always in a public place like a restaurant.
  • Do video chat and keep screen prints of him/her.
  • Verify the things that you find out about the person. The off-hand remarks. Match them. If he is lying, soon some things won’t match.

Round up of all online crimes:

  1. Listen to your gut feeling.
  2. Never fall for a ‘secretive’ relationship. If the person is genuine he/she would be willing to come out clean.
  3. Do not think that you are in a ‘hopeless’ situation, in your life. You will find out the meaning of ‘hopeless’ once you are a victim of online crime.
  4. Follow the Islamic behavioral codes. You will be safe.
  5. When the person wants money. Just block/delete and run.
  6. Never share passwords, account details etc.
  7. Remember all words are just typed on keyboard. It cannot mean anything till it is matched with actions.
  8. If person avoids video chats, that too is an sign. But some are fine with it. Knowing what can you do about it anyway? But do make some screen shots just in case it comes handy.
  9. A person can send you his/her passport prints, contract copy, website link. ALL THIS CAN BE FAKE. Even documents with water marks can be fake. (Even you can make one.)
  10. Know that emails can be fake. I know persons who can hack an account and send false emails to it.
  11. You cannot be too careful. Whatever is online, has to be validated in real life with knowledge of your family and friends.
  12. Never be afraid of humiliation as safety is more important.

Take Allah’s help:

No matter what the problem at hand:

  • Yes, pray more fervently.
  •  Read istakhara prayers often.
  • You need to be patient, Allah likes that.
  • The biggest thing is that usually online crime person would want things done in a hurry. So, he/she can take the money and run. So, be patient and take time at every ‘step’.
  • Always adhere to boundaries set by Allah in every situation.

Stay blessed, my dear Reader. ?

Note: All photographs have been taken by the author. Yes, they have nothing to do with the topic, they are there to cheer you up! 😉

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