Chennai: An image, doctored with an image strip lifted from state police’s official website, with the content as if the city police has launched an SMS helpline for women traveling alone, went viral.
The body of the message reads: “Chennai city police have started a good service with a dedicated helpline for women. Before boarding the taxi or auto, sms the Vehicle Number to +91-99697778 88. You will get an acknowledgment via sms. Vehicle will be tracked via GPRS. Share with as many as you can. Help your sister, mom, your wife and female friends.”
In fact, the actual helpline was originally launched by Mumbai police way back in March 2015 close on the heels of the murder of an Andhra based techie.
Ever since, miscreants had been using it successfully for spamming. One version of it said Bengaluru police had launched it and the Karnataka police had to respond to the hoax through their official social networking platforms.
The present version with the image strip was done in such a way that it looks more credible in the first look itself, triggering the urge to share among ‘unmindful’ receptors. The text alone was getting shared in FB since the first week of February and the oldest one was in May 2015.
When contacted, Chennai police officials clarified that they had not launched any such helpline. On the use of the official image lifted from TN police website, the official said they would look into the matter.
“Whoever did this was very particular that this hoax share should get wider publicity. Because, it just worked. The image, which started figuring in message sharing platforms on Wednesday, went viral among all other message sharing platforms”, said another senior police officer....