Cybercrime Unit: ID theft, catfishing in TT
There have been reports of identity theft and "catfishing" (luring someone into a relationship with a fake online persona) to the local Cybercrime Unit said unit representative Sgt Daniel Hernandez.
He was speaking on Wednesday at a media briefing held at Police Administration Building, Port of Spain.
He said the unit has assisted in investigations of identity theft and catfishing and provided information, liaising heavily with the Office of the Attorney General. He stressed that while people may feel the need to express themselves in a negative way online it was something the unit takes very seriously.
He said of the 25 cases 17 were solved and, because there are no cybercrime laws, there were fines of about $200 and $500 and imprisonment for a month. He explained this was implemented using legislation such as the Computer Misuse Act, Offences Against the Person Act and the Telecommunications Act. Asked if there were challenges with the lack of cybercrime legislation, Hernandez said there were and they were awaiting the proclamation of the cybercrime bill which they had to opportunity to assist with drafting.
He said sexual offences would be included in the cybercrime legislation and this included situations of online grooming, taking pictures and posting online. He added there were reports of people being contacted via PlayStation Network.
He reported in 2015 there were 25 reports to the unit which included offences relating to harassment, defamation of character and some cases of sexual offences, and some of these cases involved children. He also reported in 2016 there were seven reports and they are tabulating records for 2017.
He said they were asking parents and teachers to be more vigilant regarding cases of children who are victims of cyber bullying.
On the issue of posting videos of school fights Hernandez said it was not cyberbullying as that has to be targeted, repeated and intended to cause harm, but the police advised people against doing that as it put the people involved at a disadvantage.
"However we cannot stop someone from posting and reposting."
"Cybercrime Unit: ID theft, catfishing in TT"