PETALING JAYA: A profile with a picture of an attractive woman is all it takes to get some Netizens to reveal personal details.
The Star, in wanting to see how easy it is to be “friends” on Facebook, showed that some Netizens were more than willing to give information like their handphone number, car registration number and house address when messaging someone that they think is single and an attractive stranger.
It was also to create awareness, as advised by the police, that people should be cautious about speaking to strangers online and should refrain from giving any personal information.
A dummy profile was set up, with a blank profile page but with a photo of a young woman.
Within the first two hours, 11 users sent a friend request.
“I've to say girl, you look beautiful!” a 20-year-old user wrote in to the dummy profile's inbox.
The person, who claimed to be a student, said he was looking for friendship and spoke at length about his ambitions, likes and dislikes during the one-hour conversation.
He willingly gave information, such as his handphone number and his address, without much hesitation.
“I'm going but maybe we can chat again tonight?” he said before ending the conversation.
Another Netizen, who identified himself as Asrul, told the dummy profile that he was a 27-year-old married man from Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi.
“Would you like to meet at a club later tonight? I can pick you up,” said the man, who also offered to pay for dinner and drinks.
When asked about his spouse, the man said his wife wouldn't find out and made a date.
He gave his handphone number and his car's registration number.
It was reported that over three people fall victim to online scams daily and that as many as 613 victims have collectively lost RM25.89mil to syndicates between January and September this year.
Federal Cyber Security and Multimedia Investigation Division director Asst Comm Mohd Kamaruddin said syndicates posing as singles online were able to persuade some Malaysians into giving compromising photos, details and even large sums of money with the promise of companionship.
He said syndicates would target and flirt with lonely individuals over several months before conning them.
“We are not saying that it is wrong to find your lover online, but people should be wary of who they fall in love with on the Net,” said Mohd Kamaruddin.
The police recently uploaded a Universiti Malaya study on the persuasive languages used by scam-mers to cheat victims online, on their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/PolisDirajaMalaysia.
Credit: The Star