Odisha’s High-Profile Personalities become Victims of Online Identity Theft

An increasing number of Odisha’s celebrities, including high-profile politicians and bureaucrats, are being targeted online with the establishment of fake accounts in their names. Also known as identity theft, such scamsters typically operate a doppelganger account of a well-known personality to lure gullible people into frauds they devise.

Deputy Inspector General (Intelligence), Anup Kumar Sahoo, was the latest victim to this online menace. Sahoo, who discovered a fake Facebook profile in his name on Sunday, was taken aback to find the duplicate. Although he has not launched a formal complaint, Facebook has now taken down the account after one of his colleagues notified the tech giant about the matter.

In the last one and a half years, there have been at least twelve recorded instances of fake profiles coming up in the name of decorated IAS and IPS officers, besides state politicians. The growing list includes DGP (Railways and Coastal Security) Pranabindu Acharya, who had fallen prey to cybercriminals. He had registered a complaint with the cyber cell against the miscreant for impersonating him on a social media platform.

On June 16, the Uditnagar police picked up a youth after he was caught impersonating the Rourkela SP K. Siva Subramani on Facebook. Earlier, on 26 May, Bargarh collector Jyoti Ranjan Pradhan and Superintendent of Police Padmini Sahoo too came across their fake profiles on Facebook. Subham Saxena, who acts as the Sambalpur District Magistrate, has been twice prey to the nefarious activities of the cybercriminals. There have been many more instances and consequently, the establishment has asked all to be aware of such updates and not be lured online into sharing details with these fraudsters.

In almost all cases, the cybercriminals sought financial ‘help’ and other favours from those in their friend lists. Investigations into such cases are presently going on in different police stations across the state.

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