mid-day editorial: Beware of the world wide web of lies

A retired man looking to invest his life savings was instead duped out of Rs 78 lakh after he came across a website that offered a business opportunity in buying and selling 'cancer curing seeds'. The elderly man was excited by the prospect of doubling his money, but didn't know that the seeds were simply a soup ingredient. By the time he realised he had been cheated, the culprits had vanished, and so had his money.

This paper reported yesterday that the police arrested the gang responsible for the scam and learnt that several other people had also been taken in by the false claims. The cops managed to get in touch with the other victims and reveal the truth to them before they parted with their money as well.

It is time people became sceptical of charlatans who are actually experts in dressing up false claims with slick marketing. The Internet — because of its accessibility and, most of all, the anonymity it gives people — is rife with such bogus schemes. Some of these are downright false, others are exaggerated way beyond their real efficacy.

Be wary of people asking you to reveal contact details on websites and on telephone, or asking for your credit card details. Scrutinise tall claims with a jaundiced eye, do some research. There are no seeds that can cure cancer. Most of these cures are ludicrous and the minute some charlatan says they an cure cancer with powders and seeds, red flags must go up. On closer inspection, one may think that it is ridiculous that people get taken in by such false propaganda, but so cleverly are these claims framed, that one tends to leave reason behind.

Whether it is a miracle cure for an illness or for your love live or career, it is best to put it to the scepticism test before parting with your money. The very basis — seeds to cure cancer — should have set the alarm bells ringing.

Become more circumspect, wary and keep your wits around you, as the Internet is a breeding ground for duplicitous schemes. Think before you click.

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