Inter-state online blackmail-extortion racket busted, 3 held

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Mumbai, Feb 22 (PTI) Three people were arrested for allegedly running an extortion racket online that involved befriending the well-heeled through fake profiles of women and then blackmailing them with porn clips, Mumbai police said on Monday.

The gang has been operating this racket from the border areas of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and may have targeted many people nationwide, said an official.

Milind Bharambe, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), Mumbai, said, 'The gang targeted celebrities, politicians, bureaucrats and IPS officers etc after studying their social media profiles. After we got complaints, the cyber wing formed teams, which went to several states and nabbed these three.' The gang used to create fake profiles of women and then send friend requests on social media platforms to targets, police said.

'Once the request is accepted, the gang starts to chat with the target on Whatsapp. Those who accepted the gang's video calls would be lured into committing sexual activities.

The recordings of such clips are then used to blackmail the victim,' he said.

After the arrest of the three persons, 171 Facebook pages and five Telegram channels have been blocked and 58 bank accounts sealed, the official added. PTI ZA BNM BNM