On 10th August 2020; I was doing my regular office work from home and suddenly in the evening my phone flashed with many follow request on Instagram. I started receiving obscene messages from all sorts of numbers- Are you up for one night stand? Let’s hook up tonight. The numbers were increasing within seconds. Through those messages I got to know someone had created a fake profile on Tinder by my name and gave away my number calling me a sex worker!
Just next to my name was written that I am available for hookups and wild sex.
I froze! The post was lurid…the worst.
I was drifting, unsure. What was happening? Neither did I know what to do except that this had gone too far and my parents deserved to know about it. How do you think parents feel when something like this happens to their children? My parents were shocked when they saw the fake profile and read those vulgar messages. This was their daughter, they had never seen or heard anything scandalous than this! My father is a heart patient and my mom was out of a surgery just few days before the incident but they ignored their health and were completely supportive, gave me strength to keep going when I was feeling like giving up!
Furious and frightened, I couldn’t sleep at night. Every time the phone flashed my mind was racing with questions – Are my friends or relatives seeing this profile? Have they already? What will they say? What if my pictures get morphed? I just wanted to run away and escape the torture, the mental harassment. So I deactivated and deleted all my social media profiles from Facebook and Instagram. I did not report the harassment the same night because I had no idea how to. But I was determined to find out who was making my life miserable so next day I filed a complaint at the Cyber Crime Branch Mumbai. It was a pain staking process. Cybercrime officials cannot directly look into Tinder for the information, they must send url’s to Tinder seeking Ip address details of the account and then wait for the company to respond. I did not suspect anyone to be behind the crime. After coming to know about it I took screenshots of fake profile and also Url of profile and gave it to the police while lodging the case. Tinder did eventually respond that the account was deleted and once the account gets deleted no application can keep information, track down or locate who created the account. The police showed me emails and confirmations from Tinder. But we didn’t get to know who the culprit was and the case got closed.
If that fake profile had been active, we would have been able to catch the imposter. Had I been known about the online portal (National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal) where cybercrime can be reported? I would have filed the complaint immediately the same night. But as I was not aware of it, the imposter deleted the fake profile and we couldn’t catch him.
Sometimes I felt that I had a magic wand, I would solve this. There is no closure to my story. I need answers for everything- why would someone create my image as a prostitute? Why was I targeted? I will never forgive the person for the damages done. But, the question remained: Who is this person?
My mom says you shouldn’t stop your regular life and not be scared of anyone but I won’t be coming to social media as I don’t trust anyone now. It was easier for me to get over the incident because of my parents support. There is no one technology that will keep you safe so be aware of people you are with, It could be anyone friend, relative or a co-worker. But to overcome it, be courageous to file a complaint. If a person sends you threatening, abusive or offensive messages via Facebook, Twitter or any other social networking site, they could be committing an offence. Do not get scared. There is no room for panic!
The easiest way to get back at someone is online “You don’t have to face the other person. So you can say or do things you wouldn’t in real life. You can knock someone down in front of hundreds of people who are on the site. It’s worst. It is important that you know this. Creating a fake Facebook/Instagram/ Tinder profile in India is a child’s play.”
Be careful out there!
(For Security reasons name and image of the victim is hidden)
(Written by Raavya Sarda)
Your private content is your own. Storymakers wants you to know that it’s wrong for someone to share or threaten to share your intimate images, videos or messages without your consent.
If this is happening, it isn’t your fault, and you can take steps to protect yourself.
- File a complaint at the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal: The website has thorough explanations about the legal provisions, the documents that need to be submitted, collecting screenshots and other evidence.
- You’re not alone: People who experience these kinds of situations can sometimes feel scared or desperate or can experience depression. If you’re struggling and thinking about hurting yourself, get support. Please don’t wait.
- Tell someone you trust: Message or call a friend or adult you trust, such as a relative, teacher, school counselor or family friend. They can help you protect yourself.