I’m the Victim of a Cyber Crime and I’m Fighting Back

We are like snowflakes, all different in our own beautiful way.

Last week I aired my opinions on the negative aspects of social media, and its potential to be misused to harm someone’s reputation or professional interests. Unfortunately, since writing that post, I myself have been the victim of a serious cyber-crime via social media. As they say, the pen is mightier than the sword, so today’s blog post is my reply to the cowardly cyber bully trying to hurt me.

On Saturday, I received a phone call from a number unknown to me. A man spoke, asking if I’m Noor. Politely I replied in the affirmative, asking him the purpose of his call. He said he just chatted with me on a website called “StrangerMeetup.com”. I was shocked and it took me a while to understand what he was trying to say. When I finally caught on, I yelled at him saying I have never signed up for any such website and cut the call.

I immediately looked up the website and contacted their customer support to address this serious breach of my privacy. The man who had called me also sent me screenshots of the private chat he had with the person who was impersonating me and circulating my phone number online. Along with the phone number, this nasty impersonator was also sharing a picture of mine saved from Instagram, of which I have a public profile. Half an hour later, I received another phone call from a different man who claimed to have gotten my number from the same website. I cut the call and was very upset.

Quite shaken at first, I thought I would have to change my number, and I kept assessing the possibilities of who the culprit could be. It was evident that it was someone who seriously disliked me, wanted to harass me while hiding in the virtual world, and had access to my phone number. Through these deductions I have narrowed it down to 10 people, of which I am fairly certain the wrongdoer will read this post. I am not sharing my suspicions here till I have collected the proof, which I will have very soon. I am fairly sure that the person could be either a man or a woman.

The website responded to me soon after, reassuring me that they had taken requisite action and my number could no longer be shared on their platform. They will shortly be sending me the IP address where the chat took place which will be the proof I require. On my end, I have filed an FIR with the cyber-crime department of the Delhi Police, and all we need is the IP address to seriously tackle this heinous act.

As a lawyer, I am well-versed with my rights and I will follow up on this crime till it reaches its just conclusion. With a family of lawyers and large network in this field, I am fortunate to have access to resources that most people do not, and I will definitely use them to identify this cyber-criminal and punish them with jail imprisonment and a hefty cash fine, for this dastardly act. A breach of privacy is a serious offence in itself, but when it is done purely to hurt someone out of petty jealousy, then it must be seriously condemned. I shudder to think how other women deal with these horrible incidents, preferring to keep quiet in the face of cyber-bullying, instead of making it public.

Here’s where I need your help as my readers- please please please share this post. We must stand up to these spineless idiots who believe they can harass anyone on the internet. If you have had a similar experience, please share it in the comments, we all must learn from each other.

I’m going to sign off by saying this person probably thought they could scare me away with this silly tactic. They best believe they picked the wrong woman, and they will be getting it back much worse than they gave.

LEGAL PUNISHMENT FOR CYBER-BULLYING/ CYBER-STALKING IN INDIA:

  • Section 66A of the Information Technology Act was meant to address this problem, but has been struck down by the Supreme Court of India.
  • Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code: Whoever intending to insult the modesty of a woman, utters any word, makes any sound, or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and also with fine. 

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UPDATE OF THE SITUATION:

This blog post had been written to scare the culprit, but I was genuinely surprised when the person confessed outright after reading the post. He has been a follower of mine on Instagram for over a year, constantly reading my blog posts and admiring my work. He attended some events I was at and also invited me to a food festival he was working at, during the course of which he took my number.

I thought he was slightly creepy but harmless, and responded to his queries though never encouraged conversation in any way. Now that I have a written and signed confession from him, I have had to face the fact that the internet is a far more dangerous place than I imagined it to be. I thought I was dealing with someone who disliked me, but if in fact the person is someone who admired me and called me his ‘mentor’, then I have to re-think everything I know about this world.

His behaviour and strange confession make me feel that he is mentally ill, and his act, though awful, may not have had malicious intent. Hence I have decided not to pursue legal action at this point. The written and signed confession will be my safeguard. He has been blocked on every platform and if he continues to harass me, he is headed straight for jail.

I only hope that his parents get him medical attention and address this problem before it becomes worse. I can only advise you to NEVER TRUST ANYONE ON THE INTERNET.

That’s all I have to say, along with heartfelt thanks for the love and concern you have showered on me in the past two days.

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This blog is a part of the #LetsBlogWithPri Campaign hosted by Prisha Lalwani from www.mummasaurus.com. I would like to thank Mahati for introducing me in the blog train. You can read her blog here. I would like to introduce Shruti Mirchandani. You can read her blog here.

*This is not a sponsored post.

**Copyright in all pictures belongs to nooranandchawla.

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106 Thoughts

  1. This is being shocking. What kind of cowards are those that hide behind those unnamed profiles and do such nasty things. Glad that you took an action and I hope the culprit gets punished soon.

  2. I am not surprised to hear your ordeal as countless women go through much worse everyday and I strongly condemn it at the very core. What amuses me is the ignorance of the noob who picked you up as the victim knowing you are an educated woman coming from a strong family. I appreciate you sharing this within the community for awareness, support and better coordination against these termites who so conveniently choose to harm our society. Being the warrior you are I have no doubt you are going to tackle him/her effectively, still I am just a call away with all the help available in my capacity.

  3. Oh, not good at all. Atleast you are a lawyer and you know how to proceed in these circumstances. Will share this post, people need more awareness on cyber safety.

  4. This is not the first time and nor is it the last time this has happened in the cyber world. What is noteworthy is how well you handled it, Noor. This post should be a big help to anyone who is unfortunate enough to face this predicament in the future.

  5. More power to you. Good to know about these laws. Culprits should be punished soon. For the time being I am sharing this blog.

  6. Hi Noor,

    I too have faced a similar type of incident in which a fake profile of mine has been created in Tinder with a photo of mine(which could have been picked up from anywhere) and the profile is being operated by a bot. I have been contacted by a couple of guys who says they have seen my profile in Tinder and one guy have me a screenshot of one such conversation with a bot with my face. Even though I have tried to raise a complaint, I don’t have any proof of that profile. After reading your ordeal, I think 5 out of 10 girls might have faced these kind of issues.

  7. Nowadays people are really bad to do such thing, thanks for sharing the legal details will share as it’s really helpful for all of us

  8. Wow that’s scary! I try not to share my phone number as much as I can. With inboxing itself we get so many weird followers who keep messaging on various platforms. Impersonating is a step further!

  9. This was really a shocking incident , circulating a personal no and getting calls from strangers is nerve wrecking a such. And knowing that this person knew you and had even met, it calls for something really serious. Good that you’ve shared these legal insights with us here as most of us are not aware of them.

  10. Internet being such an open platform, it is susceptible to frauds.

    Your post really gives a right insight on how to take care of such unforeseen experience.

  11. This is such a scary experience you had to go through. Its really dishrartening to see our professional contacts misusing our information and breaching our privacy in such a distasteful way. Good that he confessed.

  12. Utter shocking news I must say. Even I am also very active on social media and try to communicate with people but such nasty mentality . Its not about the bad power of social media but few people are mentally sick I must say. We must be very careful and you did a great job Noor.

  13. Really sad to see such threats in the internet, but the world is like this, there are zillion of people into this. Your post should definitely be shared big time. Love the way you’ve put it up.

  14. The internet is truly a dangerous place and although we use any number of settings on our social media handles we aren’t really truly safe. The guy was a sick stalker after all. So glad you’re out of it but this is a lesson for all of us.

  15. So alarming post. Even I experienced something similar in the past and I immediately lodge a complaint to cyber crime department

  16. OMG this is so scary. I wonder why people has so much hate and time to defame others. Good that you have filed an fir.

  17. This is really scary. I have had such an experience myself when my Facebook account was hacked. But I immediately contacted the Cybercell Delhi and sorted it out before the damage could be done. They did come twice for follow up but I didn’t press charges because no defamatory messages were sent from my handle and the culprit apologized for the same in front of the police. I have ever since been very cautious. It’s better to be safe than be sorry later.

  18. OMG this is so scary!!! And at least you found out it was happening and eventualy the person owned up too. In so many cases people dont even get to know. Honestly i love social media for all its wonderful benefits but yes, it can be very dangerous too. Must have been horrific to go through all this!

  19. I am so relieved buddy that the culprit accepted his folly otherwise too I was sure you would have caught him. I am so impressed by your resolve to the issue buddy.

  20. This event was traumatic but not surprising for me. Internet especially Instagram platform is leading many malicious people to nonsensical and fearsome ways. I am glad the person in your case cane with apology. I hope many people (particularly women) know their rights about online harassment.

  21. This is so scary Noor. You are a very strong lady I must say, how you handled everything is really commendable. More power to you dear.

  22. What the hell… Seriously you can not trust anyone these days… But kudos to you, he never would have thought you would zero down to him …

  23. This is seriously the worst thing someone can do to bring you down. I never knew about these laws before. Thanx for sharing. This post is very very useful.

  24. This sounds so horrible and scary! I’m so sorry that you have had to go through this.
    It’s disturbing what lengths people will go to when they feel a Sort of connection with you which is largely imagined by them.

  25. This is really serious and scary. And I am so glad you decided to write about it as it would help others as well. The most shocking part is that it is done by an admirer and not someone who dislikes you! I am glad he confessed!

  26. The more addict we are getting to social networking, the more we are getting trapped in cyber crimes. Recently a friend of mine lost Rs.15,000 in one such theft. I hope the cyber crime cell is strong enough to catch the culprit.

  27. seriously you cant trust a person on internet ,it may be your friend ,agency or anyone else .But you have shown great courage and also motivate us ,do not keep silence taking action is only the right thing to do

  28. This is a serious issue. This is a horrible mentality that needs to be addressed. People just assume a women’s phone number if available in public domain is for misuse!!

  29. Got goose bumps reading this. Internet is dangerous if used with bad intentions.. but kudos to you for being active and taking legal process. It’s even creepier to know that person “likes” you. Thanks for the legal info.. we all MUST know.
    I had faced 1 issue sometime back when my instagram photo with husband was published in some “crap”/”spam” website with the headline- “husband killed wife over some issue” .. and we got to know when our common and individual friends sent us the screenshot of this “sponsored post” on their fb page.

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