Mumbai Crime: Man arrested for involvement in social media marketing fraud

Updated: 15 July, 2020 17:51 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

During the investigation, it was revealed that the accused is part of a larger international fraud racket that functions by creating fake profiles on various social media platforms

This picture has been used for representational purposes
This picture has been used for representational purposes

The Mumbai Police Crime Branch arrested a man in Kurla for his alleged involvement with a gang running a social media marketing fraud racket that creates fake profiles. He was arrested from Gauri Shankar Nagar in Kurla after Bollywood playback singer Bhoomi Trivedi filed a police complaint.

The singer had approached the police commissioner on July 11 seeking action against unknown persons who had purportedly created her fake profile on Instagram.

She also complained that unknown persons have been approaching other celebrities to activate profiles through them. A case was registered at Bangurnagar Police Station. Accordingly, the CP directed the Crime Branch to investigate and as per Joint CP Vinoy Kumar Choubey’s order, the case was taken up by the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU). An SIT (State Investigation Team) of CIU and Cyber Cell has also been formed under the supervision of DCP (Detection) Nandkumar Thakur to investigate and curb such malpractices.

During the investigation, it was revealed that the accused is part of a larger international fraud racket that functions by creating fake profiles on various social media platforms. Through these profiles, the gang has been generating fake performance statistics such as the number of followers, comments, and views.

The accused told police that he has generated more than five lakh followers for a total of 176 profiles on Instagram, Tiktok, and Facebook in order to fraudulently project them as influencers.

The investigation also revealed that these fake followers are created either manually or through bots generated from illegal software. By manipulating the existing system of respective social networks, these fraudsters post the followers. In a statement, police said that there are more than 100 such portals involved in such racket across India. The accused was working for. www.followerskart.com.

It is for the first time that such a racket with international ramifications has been busted in India. The police also found that these types of fake profiles and followers are being used to create rumours and panic amongst the society, in which the culprits have been operating through Indian as well as foreign internet networks and servers.

Police said that Crime Branch has identified 54 of such Indian portals and has been working with almost all the social media platforms in order to curb the menace of such fake influencers’ fraud racket.

The arrested accused was produced before the court and was remanded to crime branch custody till July 17.

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First Published: 15 July, 2020 16:41 IST

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