Cases of online fraud are growing day by day. And a lot of them start with fake profiles and trusting victims giving out personal information to strangers. People have been duped by fraudsters on matrimonial sites and even on Facebook by posing as a celebrity.
According to Hindustan Times, corporate executives in Delhi NCR have recently fallen victim to con artists on a social networking app meant for gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Modus operandi of the racketeers explained.
In September 2019, six school drop-outs from Bhondsi, Haryana, hired three engineers on a salary of Rs.30,000 per month to create fake profiles on Grindr. Essentially, their job was to contact high-profile targets, gain their confidence and set up dates in Sector 29, Gurugram.
Thereafter, one gang member would go to the date and suggest a drive along the dimly lit and deserted stretches of Southern Peripheral Road and Western Peripheral Expressway. The remaining racketeers would ambush the victim when things got intimate.
“They used to click pictures and force them to hand over their belongings, threatening to upload their nude photos and videos on several websites. Fearing exposure, especially to family and friends, the victims used to hand over cash, laptops, and watches. In many cases, the victims were also blackmailed into transferring money into different accounts.”
Here’s how they were finally caught.
In November 2019, Gurugram Police caught wind of the gang after a victim lodged a formal complaint. The officers sent a decoy to the meeting spot and managed to apprehend 4 of the six racketeers. Police commissioner Muhammad Akil was quoted saying,
“Around 50 executives of top multinational companies in Delhi-NCR have been duped and robbed by them. The victims, fearing social stigma, are not ready to take legal action against the suspects and have refused to come forward and record their statements with the police. We have written to Grindr to get more details of the suspects and their accounts as two of the gang members are still absconding. They targeted people in Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, and Ghaziabad.”
So far the cops have traced 80 of the 150 victims and the hunt for the two remaining members is still underway. This only goes to show that we shouldn’t share personal information on dating apps too soon and meet in public places.