By ASIF CHAUDHRY
LAHORE: A well-organized group of unidentified men is allegedly harassing young lady doctors of government hospitals in the provincial capital by using names of country’s two top spy agencies.
The suspects are hacking Facebook and Whatsapp accounts of female doctors to get access to their private life, photos and related stuff to blackmail them.
They have so far harassed seven female medics, mostly postgraduate trainees and house officers, and minted Rs15,000 from one of them, an official privy to the information told Dawn.
Initially, he said, seven lady doctors of different hospitals dared to bring the matter to the knowledge of authorities concerned. “The victim medics may be in dozens as many “terrified lady doctors” prefer to pay to “unknown callers” the small amount which ranges from Rs15,000 to Rs30,000 rather than to take risk of getting their personal profiles uploaded on the internet,” he said.
The official said this cybercrime was going unchecked as callers introduced them as senior officials of top sensitive agencies. “They give a strict message to the target lady doctors that they are not “accountable” to police or any other law enforcement agencies,” he said.
The scam surfaced when the suspects extended the crime from one hospital to other state-run medical institutions after they realized that “the poor lady doctors” were becoming a very soft target for them, he said.
Recently, a female medical officer of Mayo Hospital informed her senior male colleagues when an unknown caller, who introduced himself as “Maj Asim” of a sensitive agency, continued to harass her even after getting Rs15,000 from her.
The man asked her to send money via Easy Paisa Service in order to maintain her respect. And she provided her CNIC and cell number to transfer Rs15,000.
He threatened the lady doctor to upload her photos, mobile phone and private information related to her family and the institution on the internet if she did not “cooperate with him”.
Later, the female medical officer involved her relative who managed to get information that the money was withdrawn from Multan.
A lady house officer of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital was shocked to know that an unknown caller shared with her private information which she had communicated with her female colleagues of the same institute through her account on social media. The caller also had an access to her all family photos and those of the institute’s function.
The official said that lady doctors were also receiving calls from another person who pretended to be “Capt Nabeel” of a sensitive agency.
Both the unknown men have blackmailed two lady medical officers of the Social Security Hospital, two postgraduate trainees of Mayo Hospital, one house officer of Fatima Jinnah Medical University/Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and two MOs of the Children’s Hospital, Lahore.
The cybercrime has sent a wave of panic among the female medical students and doctors of government hospitals as a large number of them are using Facebook and Whatsapp with their original names and institutes’ profiles.
As most of victim lady doctors are reluctant to become a party, they have lodged a complaint with the Inspector General of Police Punjab and the Federal Ombudsman through their male colleague Dr Salman Kazmi.
“We have approached the Federal Ombudsman when the Punjab police and a sensitive agency did no action on our complaint against the culprits behind this ugly crime”, Dr Kazmi said.
He said a team of his male colleagues had worked up a lot to collect evidences, including CNIC numbers and mobile phones used in the cybercrime.
It is matter of grave concern that the alleged “criminals” are getting access quite easily to mobile phones of lady doctors, their family background, addresses and their workplaces.
“The most disturbing is the fact that they are hacking Facebook accounts of the targeted lady doctors to have an access to their personal information which otherwise is not possible for a common man,” Dr Kazmi said and added that surprisingly one of the unknown callers was using foreign dialing code which showed they were highly influential people.