Police grappling with social media extortion cases

Police grappling with social media extortion cases

Three incidents reported this month

Social media extortion is the new crime trend which the Delhi police is grappling with and the fight has got tougher with three incidents reported back to back this month.

In all three incidents, the perpetrators created fake accounts on a social network site, uploaded morphed pictures and videos, and dropped messages demanding money — which ranged between Rs 15,000 - Rs 80,000 — to get the accounts taken down, a police source said.

He further said, the complainants pertaining to the three matters are women in their early 20s, including the daughter of a south Delhi-based doctor.

A senior police official said, in such offences the probe starts with tracing the IP addresses. If such incidents have taken place, it is a serious matter and strict action will be taken against the perpetrators.

Fake accounts

The source further said, from preliminary investigation it emerged that the perpetrators are into mass creation of fake accounts.

In the matter related to the south-Delhi based doctor’s daughter, the IP address was traced and it emerged that the same had as many as 12 log-in terminals. IP addresses in the other cases are in the process of being traced.

A similar incident also took place with a Ghaziabad-based journalist and the matter was reported at Kavi Nagar Police Station there. In this matter, also reported this month, the accused demanded Rs 3,00,000 from her, said a source.

Interestingly, in all four cases, including that of the journalist, the accused persons tried to validate their extortion bid on the pretext of loan repayments, suggesting some sort of a modus operandi for gangs which have so far not been under the police scanner.

For instance, in one case, the perpetrator claimed to be the employee of a prominent bank and told the victim that he was doing so as she had not repaid a nearly nine-year-old loan, back when the woman was actually a student, the source added.

In September 2015, Delhi Police had come across the first case of extortion through social media, though it did not involve creation of any fake account.

A youth from Haryana’s Kurukshetra district was found extorting money from a law student from Azerbaijan, whom he had befriended over a social networking site, threatening to upload her morphed photographs on pornographic websites.