There has been a surge in the number of Indian soldiers that were tricked by Facebook accounts being operated from within Pakistan into revealing sensitive information including troop and tank movements.
According to a CNN report, Indian soldiers are “honey trapped” into giving sensitive information to fake Pakistani Facebook accounts which highlighted the widespread “catfishing” problem facing India’s military.
Sombir Singh, 22, was stationed near the India-Pakistan border when he struck up an intimate online relationship with an account he believed to be operated by an Indian army medical officer, the report said.
The soldier, within one year, revealed sensitive information, including troop and tank movements to his fake lover.
Umesh Mishra, additional director general of police (intelligence) for the Rajasthan Police, said, “He was honey-trapped via Facebook from a lady in Pakistan.”
There was also an exchange of erotic and intimate messages, as well as explicit photographs.
According to the report, the still active Facebook account was created under the name Anika Chopra. The profile picture shows a woman wearing a green sari.
The low-ranking soldier had received money via his brother’s account from his online lover, Rajesh Meena, superintendent of police, State Special Branch, Rajasthan Police, told CNN.
“She started getting confidential information about the army in lieu of which he received money,” Mishra said.
Singh was arrested Friday and, if convicted, faces up to three years in prison under the country’s Official Secrets Act.
Last week, India’s belligerent army chief Bipin Rawat claimed the Indian army was facing a wider catfishing campaign. Many have been duped by scams and warnings have been issued to army personnel.
“For those people who are not reporting the matter, if it comes to our notice that they have been continuously flouting the rules of social media, the punishment being meted is heavy,” Rawat said Thursday.
“We are taking this very seriously and can’t allow the compromise of security through … social media.”
The scammers “from across the border” use Bollywood actresses’ names to entice recruits into online relationships, said Rawat, urging troops to be sceptical of such accounts.
“I tell my boys, do you think that your film star wants to become friendly with you?” he said. “But yet people are getting trapped by these names. We have told them, be careful, don’t go into these things.”
Mishra added that the Indian army was monitoring the online activities of soldiers and that this surveillance had raised the red flag in the case of Singh.
“We have seized his mobile (phone) and his digital footprints are being investigated,” said Mishra.