More and more people spend time on social media these days, and one of the outcomes of such activities is the increase in the number of sex and extortion cases. While there has been an increase in the number of cyber-crimes, there has been a steady rise in sextortion cases in the city.
Such crimes are always conducted in a systematic manner, and the pattern is more or less the same. Usually, one member of the gang befriends people on Facebook through friend requests. Then once the conversations reach an intimate level, the member invites the person for a WhatsApp chat. During the chat, he or she is asked to chat nude. When the person obliges and strips on camera, the act is recorded on mobile phones, and the same clippings are sent to the person later to blackmail them.
The police warn that even a 5-second clipping is used to manipulate the trapped persons into giving money. Huge amounts are demanded through online transfers as the victims are threatened that the videos will be made public or posted on social media.
Sadly, already two people have lost their lives in the past few months. While one person was from Langer Houz, the other was from Nizamabad. KVM Prasad, ACP Cybercrime Hyderabad, has warned that in most cases, Facebook requests are sent by ‘beautiful women.’ According to ACP (Cybercrime), Rachakonda, S Harinath, many victims do not come forward to lodge a complaint as they fear social stigma.
While gangs from West Bengal were known to indulge in such acts, now the police have been seeing an increase in gangs from Rajasthan and Haryana. Also, gangs from Alwar, Bharatpur, and Mewat, who were once known for e-commerce portal frauds, have now moved into sextortions, and Facebook and Whatsapp frauds, apart from QR Code scams. While some victims end up paying huge sums due to fear, the police have said that citizens should refrain from accepting Facebook requests from strangers.