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Gangs using social media to extort money from missing kids’ parents

delhi Updated: May 29, 2016 09:25 IST

NEW DELHI: Parents of a 13-yearold girl from Jharkhand, who has been missing for the past two months, thought they got lucky when they received a call from someone claiming he knows where their daughter is. But for that they will have to deposit money through e-wallet.

Sensing trouble, the father of the girl approached an NGO that contacted the police suspecting it might be a ploy to extort money from the girl’s father.

Their fears turned out to be true. The person who had called up the girl’s father was caught in Chennai. He confessed that he collected the details of missing children through social media and contacted their parents to extort money.

So the next time you share details of missing children on social media to help the family, think twice, as it can easily be misused. NGOs working in the field of child welfare say criminals are increasingly gathering details of families of missing children through social media. They blackmail the families, telling them they know the whereabouts of the child and extort money from them.

“In Delhi, where most people use social media, it is easy to get parents’ detail. Our timeline is flooded with photos of missing children and we often share it with the contact details of their kin. But this trend is dangerous and the police must educate parents on ways to deal with it,” said Rishikant, an activist with the Shakti Vahini, NGO.

Data tabled in the Lok Sabha recently revealed that in the past three years over 22,000 children went missing in Delhi. As many as 9,000 are yet to be traced. Every year, more than 7,000 children go missing and 1,500 of them remain untraced in Delhi.

First Published: May 29, 2016 09:25 IST