MUMBAI: The cyber wing of the city crime branch busted a gang involved in sextortion. The gang who was operating from border villages of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana has allegedly targetted many people across the country, said police.
According to Milind Bharambe, joint commissioner of police Mumbai crime branch said, "The gang used to target prominent people like celebrities politicians, bureaucrats and IPS officers after studying their social media profiles." The police however did not disclose victims' names citing privacy issues.
After receiving multiple complaints of 'sextortion' the cyber wing has launched a manhunt for the gang and sent their teams to different states to nab the culprits.
While explaining their modus operandi, police said, the gang used to create fake profiles on socials media platforms mostly by names Pooja Sharma or Neha Sharma and send friend request to their targets on Facebook (FB), Telegram, Instagram. Once target accepts their friend request they converse with them posing as a woman. While chatting they ask for mobile numbers and began chatting on WhatsApp. Before sending friend requests, the fraudsters used to study their social media profiles, said police.
"We have seen the trend that the gang mostly video called their victims on weekends in case he received their call a nude woman or a porn clip could been seen, the fraudsters then indulged their targets to perform sexual activities in front of the camera and records everything. Within minutes after the call, the victim receives video clips of their earlier conversation followed with an extortion demand otherwise threatened to viral the video among their friend," said Bharambe.
Many chose not to complain and ended up paying extortion, said police.
The gang operates in professional manner with some targets only politicians while some targets celebrities and so on. Following their arrest, the police have so far blocked 171 FB pages and 5 Telegram channels while 58 bank accounts which were used to accept the extortion money have been freezed, said police.