Warning! Repaired your smartphone? Your personal data maybe on Internet

New Delhi: How often do we walk into stores to repair our smartphones when some tragedy befalls upon us?

Yes, we walk in worrying for our dear gadget rather having any second thoughts about our data.

Well, this normal or what can be called as routine for Shweta Dixit turned out to be her worst nightmare when she started receiving unknown videos, audios, threats to upload her personal pictures on any porn site, Mail Today reports.

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So what exactly happened with Shweta? When she took her smartphone to a repair shop in Delhi’s Karol Bagh the repairman asked for her passcode and

“The shopkeeper asked for my phone passcode. He said he needs it to check how the new screen works. With some hesitation, I scribbled down the string of characters for him,” recalls the 27-year-old victim who works as a content writer in Noida.

“You know what, he did look sincere and efficient. After all, I got my phone back in three hours flat,” said Dixit whose phone screen was damaged for over a month now.

It was only three days after she got her phone repaired she started receiving threat calls from an unknown number.

“The caller sent me some of my personal photographs. He said he would upload them on YouTube and porn websites. I was petrified. I knew my phone data has been stolen,” she said.

Worried over this new dilemma, Dixit immediately wrote an email of her ordeal registering a case with the Delhi Police.

“We have seized electronic devices from the shop and have sent them for forensic tests. A report is awaited,” said an investigator working on the case said adding that victim’s data has been stolen.

“We’re also examining the suspect’s call records. The number used had been obtained on fake identity proof. Our investigation is underway,” he said.

Over the last six months, as many as 350 women have become victims to this evil issue lurking behind good decent faces who not only stole their data but have also blackmailed them.

According to Police these data thefts have happened after these women had their phones repaired at shops.
And most of the victims were blackmailed, threatened by unknown personals who said would leak their personal data.

But Police warns people that in many cases the shopkeepers have been able to retrieve even deleted data from phones and leak them to blackmailers.

“Cases of mobile data theft are rising. To earn easy money, blackmailers and extortionists have built a nexus with mobile repair shops. Data is also sold to pornographic websites who are always hungry for pictures and videos,” said Gautam Kumawat, a cyber crime investigator.

Aneesh Roy, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Crime) has confirmed that women are easy targets of “cyber perverts” because of the anonymity and accessibility offered by the cyber space.

“Teenagers are even more vulnerable to cyber crimes because of their inquisitiveness, curiosity and also due to inadequate awareness of online threats and safe online habits,” he said.

Speaking of one such case, a 21-year-old victim said: “An unknown person called. He had my personal photos and threatened to leak them to people, including my parents. He wanted Rs 1 lakh.”

In many cases, such crimes can push the victims into depression, turn them suicidal.

A psychiatrist with Max Hospital said that when the girl was brought to her by her parents, she did not reveal the exact cause of her mental state.

“During counselling sessions, she became comfortable and told me about what had happened. We informed the police who are investigating the case,” the psychiatrist said.

What action does Police take into matters such as these? According to the Police, not all complaints are converted into FIRs. “Mostly, complainants want the photos to be deleted from the Internet while some opt for online complaints as they are not comfortable with filing the case.

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