Cybercriminals make friendship with the victim over social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp etc. pretending to be a very rich foreign national. They usually play emotional card i.e., family issues, loneliness etc. and instill a belief in the victim that the fraudster is really going through an emotional crisis. After developing some rapport, they send photographs of the gifts which they say they intend to send as a token of friendship. They later tell the victim that the gift is detained at airport by customs officer and request money for the release of the gift. The victim pays the money to the fake customs officer, who is also a member of that cybercriminal gang.
How to Prevent Such Frauds?
1) Be careful while accepting friend requests from strangers on social media platforms.
2) Check how many friends the user’s profile has. An average Facebook profile has around 300 friends. Catfishing profiles often have significantly fewer friends.
3) Do not share personal details with strangers over social media platforms.
4) Social media sites offer privacy settings for you to control who can view your posts, photos, etc. or send you requests.
5) Restrict access to your profile by keeping the privacy setting as “friends only”.
6) Always remember – “No stranger/social media friend will give you expensive gifts for free.”
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